Eight Indiana wrestlers placed in the top five at the Mountaineer Invite on Sunday in their respective weight classes.
Indiana competed against Appalachian State University, No. 7 Arizona State University, Duke University, Gardner-Webb University, Kent State University and the United States Air Force Academy in Boone, North Carolina.
Junior No. 13 DJ Washington had the best performance of the day for Indiana in the 184-pound weight class. Washington won his first two matches with pins against Air Force sophomore Calvi Sund and Gardner-Webb sophomore Jha’Quan Anderson.
“It’s hard not to highlight a competition without mentioning DJ,” Escobedo said “I think DJ was disrespected being seeded third in the 184-pound class of the tournament.”
Sophomore Jacob Moran, who is ranked No. 27 in the 125-pound weight class, started with a major decision 14-4 victory against Air Force junior Quinn Melofchik. Moran lost in the next round, but finished in third place after defeating No. 31 fifth-year Jake Ferri of Kent State in a 6-5 regular decision.
“Jacob definitely stood out to me this time around,” head coach Angel Escobedo said. “For him not to make the NCAA championships then defeat a returning national qualifier proves he can contend for a spot on the podium.”
Graduate student Brock Hudkins, the No. 18 wrestler at 133 pounds, started with a win over Appalachian State senior No. 21 Codi Russell in a 6-3 decision. Hudkins then defeated Arizona State freshman Julian Chlebove in a 4-2 decision but fell to Arizona State junior No. 7 Michael McGee by major decision, leaving Hudkins to earn second place in the class.
Escobedo said Hudkins’ performance stood out to him as well.
“For a guy like Brock who wrestled the way he did and had to come back with limited performances after an injury is great to see,” Escobedo said.
Sophomore Nico Bolivar and junior Cayden Rooks wrestled at 141 pounds for Indiana. Bolivar went 1-2 for the day, only defeating Byers in a regular decision. Rooks finished the 3-1 on the day with wins over Duke sophomore Patrick Rowland, Appalachian State sophomore Isaac Byers and Kent State sophomore Louis Newell.
Escobedo said Rooks is off to a great start with a 5-1 record.
Junior Graham Rooks, the No. 33 wrestler at 149 pounds, finished the day 1-2 with losses to Arizona State freshman No. 7 Kyle Parco and Duke senior No. 13 Josh Finesilver but a win over Kent State senior Kody Komora.
Junior Kasper McIntosh represented the 157-pound weight class alongside sophomore Jonathan Kervin, who made his debut with the Hoosiers. Kervin lost his first two matches, but Kervin and McIntosh had to wrestle each other. In a 3-1 decision, McIntosh defeated Kervin. McIntosh would then lose an 11-5 decision to Appalachian State sophomore Tommy Askey.
“The match really solidified the status that Kasper is our guy for the 157-pound class,” Escobedo said about the match.
Sophomore Matt Ortiz lost his first match in the 165-pound weight class 7-2 against Air Force senior Jack Johnson. Ortiz then won back-to-back matches against Kent State juniors Mason Karpinski and Brady Chrisman.
Junior Nick South won his first match 4-1 against Appalachian State graduate student Dee Reddick. He lost his next two matches against Duke wrestlers.
At the 197-pound class, junior Nick Willham went 2-1 on the day for Indiana with wins over Duke senior Kade Russell and Gardner-Webb senior Anthony Perrine.
Junior Jacob Bullock and senior Rudy Streck wrestled for Indiana at heavyweight. Streck went 0-2 for the day, while Bullock went 1-2 with his only win against Appalachian State junior Jacob Sartorio.
“Overall, the team’s confidence has improved a lot since last weekend,” Escobedo said. “However, the team is still hesitant to score. We need to work on creating more scoring opportunities from our hand fighting.”
Indiana’s next match will be Dec. 11 at the Cleveland State Open in Cleveland, Ohio.