IU wrestling closed last season with a loss against Appalachian State at home in the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals.
On Sunday, the Hoosiers were in Boone, North Carolina, to take on the No. 20 Mountaineers again in the season finale, and won 21-12 to finish the season at 10-9.
The NWCA National Duals pitted eight Big Ten teams against conference champions from around the country, and IU was drawn to match up with Southern Conference champions Appalachian State.
IU Coach Duane Goldman said there were big matches for some wrestlers individually and added those guys were able to step up to help themselves, while also assisting in the team victory.
Sophomore and 125-pound Elijah Oliver started the match by defeating No. 18 Vito Pasone 7-5 in a sudden victory to give the Hoosiers an early 3-0 lead while also sparking life into the team right out of the gate.
“It brought our guys off their feet,” Goldman said. “It was one of the better matches he has had all year and probably the best match he has had since coming back from his injury.”
The Mountaineers tied the match 3-3 before IU’s 141-pound sophomore Cole Weaver picked up a win for the second week in a row and won a close match 5-4 to give the Hoosiers a 6-3 lead.
Appalachian State tied it at six, but IU used the next four matches to pull away and put the match out of reach for the Mountaineers.
Sophomores Jake Danishek, at 157 pounds, and Bryce Martin, at 165 pounds, won to give the Hoosiers a 12-6 cushion.
Freshman and No. 23-ranked 174-pound Devin Skatzka dominated his match, recording takedowns and back points in route to a tech fall victory that extended IU’s lead to 17-6.
To cap off the four-match run, 184-pound senior No. 6 Nate Jackson secured a major decision victory to ensure a perfect 19-0 record for the senior in the dual meet season.
IU now has two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten Championships in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and an atmosphere some of the Hoosier wrestlers haven’t had sink in just yet.
Goldman said the experience will be good for most of his wrestlers, who he said may not yet realize what awaits them in Assembly Hall in the beginning of March.
“When it really rolls around and turns into the venue that it is, with all the fans, when they are able to be here in Bloomington with the familiarity, I think it will be something they remember and compete well,” Goldman said.