The end could not come any sooner.
On a day when IU wrestling prepared to say goodbye to the regular season as well as their home arena due to the decision to make a new one, the Hoosiers struggled once again in their match versus Northwestern, losing by a final score of 27-12.
Despite the loss, multiple wrestlers ended the season on a high note and put themselves in a good position going into the Big Ten Tournament March 3-4.
No. 14 junior Cole Weaver was one of those positives. In a difficult fight last week, Weaver could not get the points his team needed. However, this time around,Weaver fought hard and shut out his opponent 7-0 to get the decision and points for the Hoosiers.
No. 20 sophomore Devin Skatzka had the most impressive duel of the day when he was able to pin his opponent in only 25 seconds and pick up six points for IU.
The only other Hoosier that won their duel was junior Bryce Martin.
But the positives stop there.
The Hoosiers have struggled to put any points up in any of their Big Ten match-ups. They had some close contests, but ultimately injuries forced this year to be a difficult one for IU Coach Duane Goldman and his staff.
Before the meet, Goldman spoke about his desire for a strong performance and high effort shown in the last meet in their arena.
“We've shown the capability to wrestle some really good matches and then there's been other times when guys haven't really shown up as well as they can,” Goldman said. “Especially wrestling in U-Gym for the last time, hopefully it will put forth some pretty good effort.”
While the result was not what he wanted, Goldman said he was proud of the way his team gave it everything they had.
Many wrestlers did not imagine having to wrestle at all this season, but the circumstances forced Goldman to play his hand and give up the redshirt seasons for a few of his talented freshmen such as Dillon Hoey and AJ Raya.
That drawback, however, could be one of the future successes for the team. With a very young squad — and no senior day celebration because there were no seniors — the Hoosiers need all the experience that they can get on the mat. So forcing some of their youngest teammates to have to go out there and see what they’ve got, could end up being more valuable than one season riding the bench would have.
This was not only the Hoosiers' last match of the season, but it was the team's last match in the University Gym.
For a building that has seen its fair share of success and disappointment, both teams at the end of the day could not be happier to be moving to their new arena.
Opening in 1963, the U-Gym was originally a part of the School of Education. However, starting in 1985, IU began to call the U-Gym home for their wrestling and volleyball teams. This 2,000-
person arena has hosted many events for the two teams, but a location closer to campus and closer to the students has always been the goal for the athletic department.
IU began construction on a new arena named Wilkinson Hall that will be next to Cook Hall on the athletic campus and will also be shared by the wrestling and volleyball teams. This new arena is supposed to open by the start of volleyball season next year, but the official opening date has not been released.
IU wrestling has a positive future for themselves both in their upcoming tournaments as well as in their new arena. Looking forward three weeks, the Hoosiers will wrestle in East Lansing in the Big Ten tournament, and following that, any wrestlers that qualify will prepare to face the best of the best in the NCAA Tournament.
Last year, the Hoosiers qualified four wrestlers to go to the NCAA Tournament. At this moment, the top two Hoosiers are almost guaranteed to qualify in Weaver and Skatzka, but it will be interesting to see how many and who else the Hoosiers are able to qualify as well. Neither of the tournaments begin until March.
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