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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Wrestlers stay at home against Fighting Illini

The Hoosiers will wrestle at home for the second time in a row this season as they take on the Fighting Illini.

The action will start at 2 p.m. Sunday at the University Gym. Last Friday the team fell to Nebraska for its fourth consecutive loss.

Despite strong efforts from redshirt freshman Zach Zimmer, senior Matt Ortega, redshirt freshman Taylor Walsh and sophomore Adam Chalfant, the Hoosiers ultimately could not hang on to the strong lead they earned early in the meet.

However, the team is remaining positive and may turn things around against No. 8 Illinois this weekend.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Ortega said. “The team is all coming together at the right time. We’ve all been wrestling well this week, and I really think we’re going to do well.”

This past week the team has been working on fine-tuning its skills and working together as a cohesive unit in order to overtake its opponents.

“We’ve been pushing each other really hard, trying to wrestle the full set of minutes,” Ortega said.

Ortega earned a pin against Luis DeAnda of Nebraska after establishing an 11-3 lead. It marked Ortega’s 25th career pin. If Ortega comes out victorious Sunday against the Illini, his season record will improve to 21-9.

“The biggest challenge will be myself,” Ortega said. “I need to make sure everything is solid, and I don’t make any mistakes.”

Senior Matt Powless said the team is also staying focused on itself rather than worrying too much on the competition ahead of them.

“Rather than preparing for specific teams, Coach has been preparing us more on getting on top of our game, getting out there and wrestling to the best of our ability, no matter who we face off against,” Powless said. “There’s really no time to worry about the other team.”

This past Friday Powless sat out against Nebraska due to a knee injury. After doing well at practice and getting treatment for his knee, he will return to the mat Sunday.

“I feel good,” Powless said. “I’ve been riding the bike, and I’ve had a couple good practices along with treatment before and afterwards. I’d say I’m definitely ready.”

If the IU wrestling team defeats Illinois, this will be its first conference win of the season, end its four-game losing streak and improve its record to 7-5.

The meet will be covered on BigTenNetwork.com.

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