The Hoosiers brought home two top-five finishers in this year's Big Ten Wrestling Championships.
Overall, IU finished 11th at the Big Ten Championships in Iowa, improving their finish from last year when the team came finished 12th.
Eight Hoosiers managed to win at least one match on the weekend, meaning eight of the 10 IU wrestlers advanced to the second of four sessions on the weekend.
In that second session, the Hoosiers seniors went out strong.
Senior Garrett Goldman may have gone 0-2, but Goldman hung with the best of them, losing to two of the top heavyweight wrestlers in the country.
Fellow seniors Alonzo Shepherd and Matt Irick lost their first match and fell to the consolation bracket. The two rejected the idea of only getting two bouts in their last Big Ten Championships, winning their first consolation matches.
Shepherd defeated Garth Yenter of Michigan State 12-10. While Matt Irick, after getting pinned in his first match, picked up a pin of his own against Northwestern’s Regis Durbin.
IU Coach Duane Goldman said he knew how important it was for them to give their all in their last bouts as a member of the Hoosiers.
"It's big for them," Goldman said. "It reaffirmed that they belong here, that they're one of the guys in this tournament that have established themselves. They can know that they're one of the top guys in the country, and that they're competing at a high level in the best conference in the country."
Freshman Elijah Oliver and junior Nate Jackson both secured top-five finishes in the championships. Oliver came home fifth while Jackson secured a fourth place finish.
After day one, Goldman knew what a challenge day two would be for them.
"They'll probably have around 12,000 Hawkeye fans cheering against them, but that's the kind of adversity they need to face as they head into the NCAA Championships,” Goldman said. “They're the kind of matches they have to be ready for. They have to do a good job of cutting their weight tonight, and they'll have to be ready to go from the first whistle and finish strong.”
Despite the crowd routing against them, both Oliver and Jackson went 1-1 on day two to secure their top five finishes.
Jackson defeated two seed Alex Meyer of Iowa 7-4 in front of an Iowa-heavy crowd. That win sent Jackson to the third place match where he came up short, though.
Oliver got caught in a neutral position during this first match of the day, resulting in him being pinned. Be that as it may, Oliver came out strong in the fifth place bout, defeating Conor Youtsey in extra time.
While the season may be over for some of the team, two Hoosiers have locked themselves into the NCAA Championships in New York City.
With their top five finishes, Oliver and Jackson have secured their spot and will be in New York City competing for a national title.
Heading to nationals have been a goal for these two all season long, and both will hope to achieve their biggest goal – becoming national champions.
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