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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Wrestlers open Big Ten slate

The long room in the Assembly Hall basement is silent, save for the sound of the two drained wrestlers still lunging at each other in pursuit of the takedown and the instructions barked by coach Duane Goldman as he circles the pair. The other wrestlers sit slumped against the wall on the perimeter. Every shirt is drenched in sweat.

The IU wrestling team is 6-0 this season in duals, but with the Big Ten opener against Northwestern on Wednesday fast approaching, the team is practicing harder than ever to keep up with its conference rivals.

We’ve got a lot of growing up to do,” junior Matt Powless said. “We’re really young. We lost a lot of seniors last year. We’re starting to grow up wrestling-wise. We’re making a lot of mistakes that come with being a young team, and once we eliminate those, I think we’ll be ready for the Big Ten season.”

Seven Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the top 25 nationally according to Intermat.com. IU is not among them, but Goldman remains confident that his squad can compete with any other on any given day.

“It’s all about matchups,” Goldman said. “I don’t know where we lie in a lot of those, but I feel like we can be competitive with these teams, and obviously should be, and always have been.”

The first challenge is the No. 9-ranked Wildcats.

“With the Big Ten season, every match is a big match,” Goldman said. “Northwestern always has a tough squad of guys. We’re getting better. It’ll be a tough dual. There are a couple of big matchups at (149 pounds), (157 pounds). Both of their wrestlers are ranked ahead of ours, but then again they’re two of our better guys, so we need to have a good showing there.”

The Hoosiers’ conference schedule will resume with a matchup against Minnesota on Jan. 14. Until then, the team will stay active with nonconference matches, including a contest against No. 23 Missouri on Sunday, and will compete in the Southern Scuffle tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on Dec. 29.

“We’re going to have to take it to a whole new level,” Goldman said.

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