Indiana wrestling finished its tri-dual in Louisville, Kentucky, Nov. 7 with two wins against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Bellarmine University.
Indiana started its season with identical 40-3 wins with fans in the Bellarmine Wrestling Center fueling the energy on Sunday, the first match with fans returning.
“The fans were excited for some wrestling,” Indiana head coach Angel Escobedo said. “The gym was pretty packed, especially with Bellarmine’s first full year as a Division I university. Obviously, COVID took so much away from us so it was great to have the support.”
No. 23 sophomore Jacob Moran won the first match of the day in the 125-pound category 18-2 by a technical fall, giving Indiana a 5-0 team lead against SIUE.
No. 23 graduate student Brock Hudkins, who is ranked in the 125-pound category but wrestled in the 133-pound class, Hudkins defeated SIUE senior Matt Malavsky by fall only 1:19 into the match for the full six points.
No. 22 junior Cade Rooks defeated SIUE No. 26 junior Saul Ervin in the 141-pound match via regular decision for an extra three points. No. 30 junior Graham Rooks won his first 149-pound match by a technical fall.
Junior Kasper McIntosh, who transfered from Minnesota before the season, made his debut with Indiana in the 157-pound category. In a regular decision, McIntosh won his first match, giving Indiana a 22-0 team lead.
Sophomore Matt Ortiz had the first loss for Indiana in the 165-pound match to SIUE senior Cardy Wilson. A 7-6 regular decision in favor of Wilson allowed SIUE to put its first points on the board, making it 22-3.
Indiana sophomore Nick South earned three points back by winning the 174-pound match by a regular decision.
No. 14 Junior DJ Washington, who was ranked No. 9 in the 174-pound category, moved up to 184 with a fall for six points. Junior Nick Willham followed suit with a consecutive fall in the 197-pound category. Finally, junior Jacob Bullock finishes the match with a 8-7 regular decision in the heavyweight category. Indiana defeated SIUE 40-3.
The second match of the day was against Bellarmine. The lineup for Indiana remained the same, except senior Sammy Cokeley took Ortiz’s place in the 165-pound category.
Moran won the first match against the Knights 17-2 by another technical fall for another 5-0 Indiana lead.
“Jacob definitely stood out the most to me this weekend,” Escobedo said about Moran’s performance this weekend. “Last year, he was thrown into the fire of the Big Ten conference. The start he had this weekend with two technical falls was great and showed how much he has improved since last season.”
Hudkins won his second match by a major decision for four points. The Rooks brothers won the 141-pound and 149-pound matches by major decisions to give the go-ahead 17-0 lead.
McIntosh and South won the 157-pound and 174-pound matches by regular decisions.
Cokeley was unable to win against Bellarmine junior Devan Hendricks in a regular decision, allowing Bellarmine to score their only points of the match. Escobedo said Indiana is still trying to figure out who will be its starter in the 165-pound class.
Washington took 1:03 to make Bellarmine sophomore Sam Schroeder fall. Willham won the last match by a technical fall, as Bellarmine forfeited the heavyweight match to Bullock. IU defeated Bellarmine 40-3.
“Overall, the team showed that they were able to score points and take control of the match,” Escobedo said. “We just need to continue the momentum going into this weekend.”
Indiana wrestling will head to Boone, North Carolina, for the Mountaineer Invite at Appalachian State University on Nov. 14.