Tucked away on the second floor of the Lied Recreation Center is Iowa State’s wrestling room. It’s where Jon Reader practices his trade.The Cyclone wrestler, one of his sport’s outstanding performers, toiled all winter without much fanfare. Last weekend, the nation’s top-ranked 174 pounder demolished his competition to claim the Big 12 championship. It his first. "It just means so much to win in front of these fans," Reader told Big12sports.com on its live webcast. "There isn’t a better program to wrestle for than Iowa State." His dominating performance (he outscored two foes by a 29-9 margin) earned him the league’s Outstanding Wrestler Award and upped his season record to 34-0 entering the NCAA Championship. Reader is the 15th Cyclone to earn conference OW honors. Next up for Reader is the NCAA Championship in Philadelphia. He will enter that meet as the top seed and with the same mindset he’s employed all season. "I just want wrestle hard seven minutes at a time," Reader said. "All season long, I’ve taken it one match at a time."
Reader’s 34 wins this season, include three pins, 11 technical falls and 11 major decisions. Nearly 3/4 of his matches have been for bonus points.In the last 40-plus years, only eight different Cyclones have registered undefeated, untied national championship seasons. The list includes Jake Varner, Nate Gallick, Cael Sanderson, Tim Krieger, Mike Land, Chris Taylor, Dan Gable and Ben Peterson.
For his final preparations, Reader will retreat to his workroom on the second floor at Lied. Without glamour, he’ll prepare for the biggest tournament of his life.
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