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Tuesday, Nov. 28
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

2008 wrestling champion seeks redemption


Senior Angel Escobedo has nothing to prove today, but, as the season approaches, he will have to demonstrate that he is the best the nation has to offer once again.

The IU wrestling team will be kicking off its season at 7 p.m. today with its annual intrasquad scrimmage at Bloomington High School North.

Coach Duane Goldman comes into his 18th year as IU’s wrestling coach with an array of talent returning after a 24th place finish at the NCAA Tournament. Most notably returning for the Hoosiers is Escobedo, a former NCAA National Champion.

The 125-pound Escobedo is coming into his fifth year in the program after redshirting his freshman year and is hungrier than ever to regain the title of National Champion.

“It’s a very important year for me,” Escobedo said. “I’ve been putting in four years of hard work and I’ve been trying to represent IU as best as possible.”

This off-season was different than any other for Escobedo, who dealt with shoulder problems last season. Off-season surgery allowed Escobedo to return to full strength and embark on leading the squad back to the upper echelon of the Big Ten.

“I spent my off-season working on just excelling my wrestling skills, whether it was lifting or going over techniques,” Escobedo said.

Goldman said he believes that the senior is above everyone in the nation at the 125-pound weight class despite placing fifth at the NCAA Championships last year.

“He’s already proven that he’s the best in the country,” Goldman said. “Any time you win a national title, it’s about skill, luck and health, and it all comes to a head.”

Hoosier vs. Hoosier

Another story that has been brewing in the off-season is who will lead the Hoosiers at 157 pounds. Junior Kurt Kinser was dominant all last year for the Hoosiers, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. There is also senior Matt Coughlin, who made two straight trips to the NCAA Championships as a freshman and sophomore.

“It’s going to be a big wrestle off, and it will be determined by open competition,” Goldman said.

Whoever does not win the job will drop down to wrestle at 149 for the Hoosiers.

The battle at 141 will be in full swing today with three young Hoosiers fighting for the spot. True freshman Max Ortega, redshirt freshmen Danny Monaco and Nick Viterisi will all look to impress Goldman to win the job that is up for grabs.

While the Hoosiers did not fare as well as they hoped in the Big Ten last season (2-5-1), Goldman does not believe that this reflects the type of team that he has.

“We really don’t like to gauge in our performance on how we do in the Big Ten,” Goldman said. “The main thing for us is getting guys through to Nationals.”

The experienced group has confidence that they have what it takes to become one of the elite programs in the country. With the Hoosiers returning seven former NCAA Qualifiers, it is hard to argue with that fact.

“We want to move up into the top three teams in the Big Ten and win a trophy at Nationals,” Escobedo said. “I don’t see why not this season.”

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