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IU wrestling begins Big Ten competition this weekend



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Sophomore Liam Cronin and then-junior, now senior, Elijah Oliver wrestle in the Cream & Crimson Dual on Oct. 26, 2017, in University Gym. IU is 2-1 this season. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

IU wrestling will compete in its first Big Ten dual competitions of the season this weekend. The road trip has IU slated against Michigan State University on Friday night, and University of Michigan on Sunday. 

After snagging a win in its home opener against Northern Illinois University last Friday, IU has won two straight dual competitions. It’s a streak the team is hoping to extend when they face Michigan State. 

Last year, the Hoosiers lost a close 18-15 bout with the Spartans, but IU Coach Angel Escobedo said the team is ready to compete for a win this season. 

“We just have to get out there and focus on our offense,” Escobedo said. “If we can get out there and focus on dominating, everything else will work itself out.” 

A win over Michigan State would be a strong way for IU to start its Big Ten schedule. After failing to win a dual competition in conference play last season, getting one win immediately could help build momentum.

In recent years, the Big Ten has become the dominant conference in college wrestling. Home to 12 straight NCAA wrestling championships, the conference is as strong as ever this season. Four Big Ten teams are currently ranked top five in the country. Penn State University and Ohio State University have been the champion and runner-up, respectively, for the last two seasons. 

With most of IU’s Big Ten competitions being one-sided last season, Escobedo has his team focused on being competitive. He said he understands that the conference is top-tier, and he doesn’t want the Hoosiers to be considered an easy win when facing these teams.

“Every Big Ten team is stacked with accomplished wrestlers,” Escobedo said. “We want to flip the narrative and be competitive in every match. We have to come out strong and wrestle with a purpose.”

This weekend will be the team’s last time competing until the South Beach Duals in December in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. With the next chunk of their season filled with Big Ten teams, the uphill part of IU’s schedule starts Friday with Michigan State. 

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