The Hoosiers’ trip to California didn’t go the way they wanted.
Although IU defeated San Francisco State handily, Cal Poly defeated IU by way of a tiebreaker to give the Hoosiers a 1-1 start to the 2016-17 season.
IU Coach Duane Goldman said his young wrestlers didn’t handle the distractions of traveling well, and they will need to check those mistakes when they travel to Fairfax, Virginia, to take on the George Mason Patriots for the first time in 19 years since recording a 36-11 victory.
Although this will be the Patriots’ first match of the season, Goldman expects the 8-15 squad from a year ago to challenge his Hoosiers and is eager to see how his wrestlers respond to a disappointing loss.
“This is an opportunity to get on the road at a hostile environment, but in a match where we should compete well,” Goldman said.
In the two weeks that have separated IU’s trip to California and the upcoming trip to Virginia, Goldman has placed a focus on getting the last points of each period.
“Whether it’s an escape or taking someone down and riding them out for the rest of the period, that’s one thing we have really worked on,” junior Luke Blanton said. “Because those are big points we gave up in the Cal Poly match.”
Individually, wrestlers have worked on perfecting their own crafts as well.
Freshman Devin Skatzka started the season 2-0 in California in his first event representing the Hoosiers, but he said he still has plenty of things to improve on. The past two weeks Skatzka has dedicated himself to better managing his matches to avoid getting gassed midway through them.
In his first two matches he said he put a ton of effort into turning his opponent for a take down or pin, while he should have been diving at their legs to cut them down to conserve energy.
Skatzka said he, as well as the team, feels better and more confident heading into the George Mason match.
Goldman wants one thing out of his young team as the season progresses.
“Consistency.” Goldman said. “Practice is totally different than the competition. Redshirt year is totally different than actually being in the lineup because guys are really battling for their team.”