In the last dual match before the Big Ten Championships, IU fell to Southern Conference Champions Appalachian State 21-13 in a match that came down to the last matchup.
This match was a part of the National Wrestling Coaches Association Dual Series, a series in which the Hoosiers participated for the first time in the program’s history.
“They wrestled tough, and we wrestled tough,” freshman Elijah Oliver said. “They did everything right. There are some areas we definitely need to improve on. Even if we would have beaten them, we still have to improve.”
Despite the loss, four Hoosiers got their hands raised, coming away individually victorious in the match.
In the second match of the day, freshman Bryce Martin defeated Forrest Przybysz 5-4.
This was the second time the two had met this season, and Martin drew even with the win.
Martin did so by securing a takedown in the final seconds of the match.
His takedown prevented giving up an escape point by holding Przybysz down for the remainder of the match.
In the next match, No. 11 junior Nate Jackson defeated Nick Kee by major decision 12-4.
Jackson’s win makes him 27-5 on the season, including a three match win streak heading into the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
In the last home match of his career, senior Matt Irick won a close bout by a score of 7-5.
Rounding out the wins for the Hoosiers was No. 19 Oliver.
He found himself down most of the match and needed two takedowns in the final 45 seconds to take home the win.
With 30 seconds remaining, Oliver got the first of two takedowns.
Time was quickly dwindling, and with five seconds remaining, Oliver put Vito Pasone on his back, securing the takedown and the last-second victory to get his 27th victory of the season.
Despite the win, Oliver said he knew he didn’t have a particularly good match that day.
“It was kind of a bad day for me, but I knew all along I was going to find a way to pull out the win,” he said.
Oliver and the rest of the Hoosiers now have almost two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten Championships in Iowa.
Oliver’s teammate Jackson has been a big help throughout the grind of a Big Ten season.
“He’s been like a mentor,” Oliver said. “He’s been there before, he knows what it takes. He’s been to the big stage, he knows what he has to do and he’s been talking to me every day about it.”
With less than one month remaining in the wrestling season, Oliver said he has the mindset of being great.
“From here on out, I plan on going undefeated and continuously winning,” he said. “I plan on being aggressive and dominating the matches.”