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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Wrestlers prepare for Big Ten Championships

The wrestling postseason has officially started, as the Hoosiers will soon be set to wrestle in the Big Ten Championships.

Wrestlers Matt Ortega (141 pounds), Taylor Walsh (149 pounds), Ryan LeBlanc (174 pounds), Matt Powless (197 pounds) and Adam Chalfant (285 pounds) will lead the team as it travels to West Lafayette to compete Friday and Saturday.    

“It puts the season in accumulation with the NCAAs,” IU Coach Duane Goldman said. “We’re just seeing who’s going to get through to nationals. Hopefully the guys that can get in there can get some good seeds and some good draws.”

The wrestlers said they have been preparing for this weekend in a different way than they prepared for their previous matches.

“Last week we had a really hard week in practice,” Powless said. “We’ve been working on conditioning and getting in the best shape possible.”

The Big Ten tournament is more individually based by determining seeds for the NCAA Championships, so the team has taken an alternative approach to its practices.

“Everyone has their own thing they’ve been working on,” Powless said. “This week has been different because we all have our own tools and assets that we work on and improve upon.”

Goldman said they are also making sure they’re not getting ahead of themselves.

“We’re working with individuals and their draws,” he said. “We’re looking primarily on their first round, and we’re not looking too far ahead.”

The team has been practicing a little differently and still remains focused on staying healthy going into the tournament.

“We’re having them stay healthy,” Goldman said. “We don’t want anyone getting hurt. We’re going hard while trying to be careful in practice and not over practice.”

Powless, seeded No. 2 for his weight class, said he has been particularly focusing on his personal technical skills.

“I’ve been working on my motion and not being too flatfooted for my weight class,” Powless said.

Powless said he has also been working on handling his emotions as his lifelong wrestling career comes closer to an end.

“I have every feeling in the world going on,” Powless said. “I’m anxious and nervous and excited for the postseason to start. That’s what you train for. You train for what everyone’s going to remember you by. It’s weird to think my senior year has gone by so quickly. I’ve got about a million emotions going through me right now.”

While there are five Hoosiers set to compete, their seeds will not be official until later Friday. The seeds remain standing until Friday’s Big Ten Championship coaches’ meeting, where each staff is able to challenge any of the pre-seeding results before the official tournament brackets are drawn.

The final brackets are expected to be released by 2 p.m. Friday.

The action will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday in Mackey Arena with the start of the first session, and the second session of the day will begin at 5 p.m.

The tournament will continue at 1 p.m. Saturday with the third session, and the fourth and last session of the tournament will begin at 3 p.m. For those who are unable to attend the championships, the event will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

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