With the 2018-2019 schedule released, the IU wrestling team can circle Nov. 3 on its calendars — the date of the season opener at Virginia.
The Big Ten Conference has become the dominant conference in college wrestling, claiming 12 straight NCAA championships.
Penn State and Ohio State have been the champion and runner-up duo for the last two seasons.
Last season saw the Hoosiers get sent to the consolation bracket in the opening session of the NCAA Wrestling Championships. But with the retirement of long-time head coach Duane Goldman, Angel Escobedo, a champion under Goldman in 2008, plans to take the Hoosiers to new heights during his tenure as IU’s head man.
IU has potential this season, but certain things need to click for the Hoosiers to get off on the right foot in November.
Since Escobedo wants to bring the Hoosiers to a top-tier level of play, Big Ten matches will be a crucial sign of whether IU can hang with the rest of the pack.
IU opens its Big Ten schedule at Michigan State on Dec. 7, with a bout at Michigan just a few days later Dec. 9.
This year’s South Beach Duals will be the weekend of Dec. 29 as a sort of mid-season refresher for the Hoosiers, as they head down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to escape the Indiana cold for the weekend.
Last year’s NCAA runner-up Ohio State will make the trip to Bloomington for a Friday night meet Jan. 11, with the reigning champions of Penn State stopping by Jan. 27.
On Jan. 18, the Hoosiers will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, for their meet with rival Purdue. Purdue handed IU a 34-3 loss when the two schools faced off last season.
Facing off against these teams will give IU’s squad an opportunity to see how they stack up against some of the best in the sport.
The season will run from Nov. 3 until Feb. 24. Then comes the start of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Hoosiers will be looking for big play from their new signing class after the loss of key wrestlers such as Brandon Wright.
Particularly, the team is hoping that newcomer Brandon “Rudy” Streck can make an impact during his freshman year. The former Merrillville High School standout was IU’s runner-up in his weight class last season.
With Streck being his first signing as IU’s head coach, Escobedo hopes this will be the first building block of a future IU contender.