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Iowa State Wins Heart of American 7s

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Iowa State Wins Heart of American 7s

Iowa State players put in a full day's work at the HOA 7s.

Iowa State won the Heart of America 7s over the past weekend, putting themselves in position to play in the R7CCs in Atlanta.

Nebraska won both their pool matches in the final minutes and Mizzou beat Iowa to advance to the semifinals. In the other pool Iowa State and Arkansas tied the first match 17-17. ISU scored first but an errant restart landed right in the hands of Tyson Lucas as halftime approached and he scored to tie it at halftime.

Arkansas went up 12 with less than three minutes left, but the Cyclones brought on some impact subs Jack Kramer and Drew Guinn. Kramer immediately dummied a defender and raced for a 60-meter try. He missed the conversion, leaving Arkansas up 17-10. With time essentially up, Noah Miller smartly went down inside the five meter line to avoid scoring in the corner and the Cyclones worked the ball back to center of the field where Kramer found Guinn on a hard line to score under the posts. Captain Griff Huffmon converted to tie the game with no time left.

Minnesota and Arkansas tied at 12-12 in their match, leaving Minnesota vs ISU as a win-or-go-home matchup. This was another defensive battle. ISU took a 7-0 to halftime after Tyler Cahill tested the edge and dotted down under the posts. In the second half, Rowan Collins, Wes Cummings, Cole Kramer, and the Miller twins ran hard lines, getting the Cyclones front foot ball, and Huffmon stripped a Minnesota ballcarrier on the goalline and scored under the posts. ISU won the match 24-0 to move onto the semifinals. 

In the semifinals, Nebraska beat Arkansas to advance to the finals. Iowa State had to make some changes to their starting lineups as nagging injuries started to set in and usual starter Nick Baines came off the bench and opened the matchup in the second half. ISU beat Mizzou to set a rematch of the final in the North seeding tournament on April 2. With much of the first half played in ISU’s 22, Nebraska scored first and then ISU matched to bring the game to halftime tied.

ISU turned to club president Wyatt Grubb off the bench at halftime as injuries had taken a toll. Grubb was struck by a car a year ago while doing cardio before the CRC and required major surgery and rehab. But he was back now and played excellent defense as Nebraska constantly put Iowa State under pressure on the perimeter but ISU was able to take a two-possession lead thanks to Rowan Collins.

Nebraska came storming back but their restart kick went to touch with less than 15 seconds remaining. Free kick Iowa State at midfield. Huffmon tapped and dished to Wes Cummings who simply went down closer to the sideline. Huffmon then kicked to touch to end the game 19-17 for Iowa State. This is Iowa State's second straight conference 7s championship—two tournaments divided by two years where they event was canceled.

"We’ve got a really good side at ISU this year," said Head Coach Ant Frein. "Replacing Jacob Sunde, who graduated last spring, was a tall order because of how vital he’d been to the team in 7s. We hit a rough patch over the last month just from not being able to practice on a full field, or at all, due to the weather we’ve had in Ames. The guys bought in this weekend and guys are filling roles well. We still have two big pieces out with injuries right now so this group could be very special by seasons end." 

Griff Huffmon ran the attack and defense well as captain, while Wes Cummings was massive, playing all 56 minutes in this tournament. 

"We’ve got a handful of good athletes that we can use interchangeably that allows us to test teams for 14 minutes," said Frein.