2023-24 Iowa State Wrestling

Cody Chittum Energized For Stretch Run With Iowa State Wrestling

Cody Chittum Energized For Stretch Run With Iowa State Wrestling

After battling through injuries, Cody Chittum is back in the Iowa State wrestling lineup and ready to make an impact in March.

Feb 9, 2024 by Rob Gray
Cody Chittum Energized For Stretch Run With Iowa State Wrestling

Cody Chittum’s fought through injuries, a stylistic change from freestyle to folkstyle wrestling, and, oh — five or six staples to repair a tooth-borne tear atop his scalp.

The Iowa State freshman 157-pounder’s OK, by the way. Better, even.

“That’s what I love about the sport,” said the ninth-ranked Chittum, who hopes to help the Cyclones knock off in-state rival Northern Iowa at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hilton Coliseum.  “It’s gladiator. Blood can fly everywhere. It’s almost like UFC with just a couple of rules where you can’t punch him. It’s probably harder, in a way. I love that aspect of the sport where you get to fully go out there and just put your hands on someone and just go out there and break them.”

An inadvertent blow to the top of the head in his dual win Friday against West Virginia turned into teeth marks for Chittum, who FloWrestling ranked as the top pound-for-pound wrestler in the Class of 2022. No matter. Chittum won by major decision anyway in his first match since suffering an injury early last month.

“We did (some) mental adjustments with him and, man, he’s just been more excited all the time,” ISU head coach Kevin Dresser. “A really popular guy on our team, but a really hard worker who spends a lot of time at it.”

Chittum’s scored bonus points in his past three matches and could face another highly-ranked foe in the Panthers’ Ryder Downey on Sunday.

“He’s pretty good,” said Chittum, a former freestyle national champion and six-time Fargo All-American. “He did better than me (in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in December), so it will be a good competition. It’ll just be a good battle and hopefully we get some good scraps in.”

That’s not only likely, but it’s virtually guaranteed when Chittum’s involved. He greyshirted at intra-state rival Iowa last season before deciding Dresser and his program suited him better. The Cleveland, Tenn. native’s scored bonus points in eight of his 11 wins this season and doesn’t wrestle defensively. Chittum simply lets loose on the mat, wrestling joyfully and powerfully, with a sense of purpose.

“I’m a pretty aggressive wrestler,” he said. “Sometimes that can be in a good way or a bad way. I just know that there’s only gonna be seven minutes left in the match and if I don’t pull my heart out in that match, I didn’t put (in) enough. So I just go as hard as I can and I guess people like watching that.”

The Iowa State-Northern Iowa Rivalry

Cyclone head coach Kevin Dresser and his counterpart in Cedar Falls, Doug Schwab, share a deep mutual respect for one another and it helps lead to colorful taunts and good-natured barbs leading up to the annual in-state dual. Iowa State owns a four-dual win streak over the Panthers, but each meeting between the two teams is usually competitive and accompanied by some fireworks.

“I know coach Schwab’s been out pushing the match a lot,” Dresser said. “Anytime you get two Division I schools — and we’re fortunate because we do get to wrestle Iowa and UNI. So anytime you can get a chance to do that, just with the history of wrestling in the state of Iowa, and all the history of the Iowa State-UNI meet, and the Iowa State-Iowa meet, I think the people (here) appreciate it.”

Dresser believes Sunday’s dual could attract a crowd as large as 10,000 — a far cry upward of the sparsely attended home duals he experienced when taking over the Iowa State job on Feb. 20, 2017.

“If we can get 10,000 in there on Super Bowl Sunday that would be something,” Dresser said. “And I think we can do that. In the past, I might have said (that) and rolled my eyes when I walked out of there, but I do think we can get that. I know there’ll be people driving down from Cedar Falls.”

March Musings

Four of the Cyclones’ ranked wrestlers are freshmen and sophomores. Couple that with the presence of longtime standouts such as 165-pounder David Carr and heavyweight Yonger Bastida and, naturally, the team’s prospects for March appear brighter than they’ve been in recent memory.

 “We are a top-four, top-five team,” said ninth-ranked 133-pounder Evan Frost, a redshirt freshman. “I’m not the only one (who) believes that. Everyone in the room believes that we’re top-two, top-three. We’ve just got to go out there and perform and that’s something we can do. Even the young guys believe it, too.”

That’s by design, of course.

“I think we can make a lot of noise at the end,” Dresser said. “And we need those guys. Whether they’re 19, or 24, or 25. In this day and age, you’re gonna see a lot of 25-year-olds in Kansas City this year. That’s just the way it is with COVID and medical redshirts. They hand out those things like candy anymore, so there (are) guys who are 25 years old and there (are) guys who are 19, but the young kids coming are a lot more ready to go each and every year.”