At the conclusion of day one, both Hoosiers have more wrestling to do at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Madison Square Garden.
Both Hoosiers won in session one, which is a key to success in the NCAAs.
“They wrestled well,” IU Coach Duane Goldman said. “That first round, you don’t quite know what you are going to get after the travel or working the kinks out. But, they both wrestled well.”
Junior Nate Jackson went 2-0 on day one. He secured five takedowns in his 15-3 win over Michael Pavasko (Clarion) and received a bonus point for having over a minute of riding time.
In the second round of the championship bracket, Jackson got redemption from a loss earlier in the season.
He lost to Zach Brunson (Ill) 8-4 earlier in the season, but IU Coach Duane Goldman said he knows records mean nothing at this tournament.
"All the records are out the window," Goldman said. "Everyone entered this tournament with a 0-0 record, and all that matters is what you do now. It's a match he has to be ready for and he has to be ready to perform."
Jackson got his redemption, winning by major decision 10-1 against Brunson with lots of help coming from Jackson’s defensive ability when he withstood two separate occasions that Brunson had Jackson on one leg.
"I'm confident in my defensive ability," Jackson said. "But the coaches and I have been working on not getting in those positions, but fortunately I was able to fend those off. Being on the attack is where I score points, and that was the reason that I won the match."
Jackson said he will follow the same process he has followed all season long as he prepares for his quarterfinals match on day two.
True freshman Elijah Oliver went 1-1 on day one. The freshman took care of Sean McCabe (Rutgers) 8-2 after beating him 8-6 in the Big Ten Championships.
That win put Oliver up against the best as he wrestled No. 1 Nathan Tomasello in round two.
Oliver fought hard for the entire seven minutes, but couldn't find a way to takedown the No. 1 wrestler in the country, dropping the match 11-2. Oliver will put his season on the line tomorrow as he moves to the consolation bracket.
In session three, Oliver will wrestle against Alfredo Rodriguez (SIUE) and Jackson will have his quarterfinal bout against Jadaen Bernstein (Navy).
For Oliver to find success getting through the consolation bracket, he will need to wrestle like he has all season long.
"You just have to get ready to go again," Goldman said. "The time for learning is over, now it's time to see how you perform."