Indiana Daily Student

Team battles Tigers in season opener

Wrestlers face familiar foe Missouri in season opener

If the past is any indication of the future, IU will have no trouble with Missouri tonight in the opener of the 2001-01 wrestling season.\nThe 7 p.m. home match tonight at the University Gym pins the Hoosiers (0-0) against a 1-2 Tigers team that has fallen to the Hoosiers in each of the seven previous meetings. Five of those Hoosier victories came in season openers. IU has dominated the overall series 10-3.\nAlthough Missouri has been beat up by opponents early in the year, it has confronted two of the nation's strongest teams. The Tigers fell to fifth-ranked Illinois and second-ranked Oklahoma State, which recently upset national powerhouse Iowa in a dual match. The Tigers return 14 lettermen from last year's 11-11 team. IU coach Duane Goldman said he isn't looking past the experienced Tiger squad.\n"Up and down the lineup they are competitive at every weight," Goldman said. "But we are too, and we just need to go out there and compete to the best of our ability and hope for the best."\nLeading the way for the Hoosiers will be junior Victor Sveda (184-pound weight class), and senior Kevin Stanley (157). Amateur Wrestling News recently ranked Sveda No. 3 in his class and Stanley No. 13 in the nation. Sveda said he is looking forward to getting off the practice mat and onto center stage.\n"I feel like once we start competition, I will be clicking and ready to go," Sveda said.\nTop returnees for Missouri are seventh-ranked John Kopinsky (174) and 11th-ranked Justin Spates (125). Kopinsky was an NCAA qualifier last season.\nJunior Brian Smiley (133) returns to the lineup after red-shirting last season. Smiley won four of seven matches as a sophomore and was the only freshman in 1997 to secure a starting spot. He spent last year as an understudy to Pat Cassidy, now a volunteer assistant coach for the Hoosiers. Despite the year off, Smiley said he is confident about tonight's opener.\n"This is actually the most prepared I've been since I've been in college," Smiley said. "I have been working out hard, and I am ready to go both physically and mentally."\nSophomore Greg Schaefer (125) also returns after red-shirting last season. In the Missouri Open this year, he defeated nationally ranked Ryan Escobar of Illinois on his way to a 3-2 overall record. Schaefer finished 16-9 with three pins two years ago and will battle Spates in tonight's match.\nFreshman Coyte Cooper (141) will make his IU debut tonight. A red-shirt last season, he won the St. Louis open while wrestling unattached. Earlier this season he placed fourth at the Missouri Open, posting a 3-2 record.\nThe Hoosiers wrestled unattached in the Missouri Open nearly three weeks ago. The NCAA only allows a certain number of tournaments and dual meets for each school. The Tigers have been busy in the early going, already participating in three dual competitions. Goldman said his team is generally beat-up following early season matches.\n"We've had some time off from our first tournament," Goldman said. "So hopefully right now everyone is feeling pretty good and we'll be ready to go."\nSmiley said being a Big Ten school benefits the Hoosiers because of the competition the team sees each year and the training it takes to compete in the conference. He said the team is ready to compete.\n"We have had a lot of time off, and I think everyone is coming together as a team," Smiley said. "We are sick of practice, want to get out there and start winning."\nIU begins the season with hopes of improving on last year's 14-8-1 record. Smiley said he is confident the team will open with a victory tonight.\n"There is no reason that we shouldn't be able to shut them out," Smiley said. "They have a couple of good guys, but I think overall we are solid as a team, young and real physical"

Like what you're reading?

Get more award-winning content delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Recap.

Signup today!
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 Indiana Daily Student