The Hoosiers split matches with Buffalo and Indiana Tech Sunday to move to 7-3 on the season as preparations for the Midlands Tournament begin.
IU first took on Buffalo and got out to a fast start, taking four of the first five matches, including a major decision win for 184-pound No. 6 Nate Jackson and pin from 174-pound freshman Devin Skatzka.
The Hoosiers had a 16-3 lead over Buffalo before dropping the final five matches to the, leading to a tough 21-16 loss.
For the second match of the day against Indiana Tech, IU came out aggressive and gathered plenty of points.
Jackson said the team goes fast in practice and IU Coach Duane Goldman wants the team to push the pace and fight for points.
Against the Warriors, the Hoosiers took eight of 10 matches, including three more pins from 157-pound Jake Danishek, 174-pound Skatzka and heavyweight Fletcher Miller en route to a 35-9 victory.
The Hoosiers remain a young team with talent and inconsistencies, but Jackson said he feels his team is not far off.
“Having a young team makes it tough to take big sweeping things away from other than the fact we are really talented,” Jackson said. “I see it all the time. I think a lot of the inconsistencies have to do with the youth. I remember being there. It’s one of those things that when it starts clicking and things start going right, it all starts going right. It’s a process and we are in that area where things are a little inconsistent right now. A little more experience and taste of victory, we will be right where we want to be.”
The Hoosiers look to continue building and gaining more consistency as they begin prepping for their last tournament-play format before the postseason begins in March.
Jackson said the Midlands Tournament at Northwestern is a great opportunity to learn about the Hoosiers’ lineup up and down, and also stressed the importance of the younger guys learning how to manage their game in a tournament format.
“Tournaments are important,” Jackson said. “Knowing how to wrestle, manage your weight and manage your matches in a tournament is a little different than dual scenarios. You do not have as much pressure as far as scoring team points. Your job is to advance and it's good for the younger guys.”
For Jackson, his season starts now as he will see a heavy dose of strong competition at the tournament, and he is not planning on losing any progress.
“For me this tournament is about getting quality competition and overcoming adversity,” Jackson said. “We need to overcome adversity in order to build. I don't plan on taking any steps backward. The ultimate goal is not Midlands, I am welcome to learn lessons then, if I have to, rather than learning them at NCAAs.”