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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Indiana wrestling battles through final duals, concludes the season with dominant win


Indiana wrestling endured a challenging weekend starting Feb. 16, facing off against formidable opponents in No. 7 Michigan and Northwestern before concluding its dual season with a victory over Chattanooga on Feb. 23. The Hoosiers fell in the final Big Ten matches and defeated Chattanooga, bringing their overall record to 7-5 and their Big Ten record to 3-5. 

Indiana started the weekend Feb. 16 with a matchup against No. 7 Michigan, succumbing to a 30-6 defeat. Michigan dominated the initial stages of the dual, winning the first four bouts.  

However, at 157 lbs., Indiana No. 18 redshirt senior Brayton Lee provided a spark of hope by upsetting Michigan's No. 10 Will Lewan with a narrow 2-1 decision, putting Indiana on the board. Lee’s victory over Lewan could be important for seeding criteria for the upcoming Big Ten Tournament. 

The Hoosiers' final points of the dual came at 197 lbs., where redshirt freshman Gabe Sollars defeated Michigan graduate student Bobby Striggow 5-1. Sollars finished a double leg with approximately 35 seconds left in the second period to get the match-winning takedown. 

After the setback against Michigan, Indiana returned to the mat against Northwestern on Feb. 18. Northwestern pulled off the upset, narrowly defeating the Hoosiers 19-18. Both teams secured victories in five matches each, but Northwestern's bonus points — including a major decision and a pin — proved decisive.  

Notable performances for Indiana included graduate student Dan Fongaro's victory at 141 lbs., securing his third tech fall of the year, and senior DJ Washington's win by major decision, improving his record to 14-4. Fongaro tactically punished his opponent and secured a tech fall victory with eight seconds left in the match.  

Redshirt freshman Tyler Lillard also secured a significant win over Northwestern’s No. 20 Maxx Mayfield. Lillard pancaked Mayfield to his back on the edge to get the takedown and back points for the 8-2 win. Other Hoosiers securing victories included graduate students Graham Rooks and Nick Willham. 

Despite its setbacks, Indiana refused to let the season end on a sour note. In their final dual of the season against Chattanooga, the Hoosiers delivered a dominant performance, securing a resounding 33-11 victory. With bonus-point wins in six of the seven individual matches, including two pins, two tech falls and two major decisions. 

Before the match, Indiana honored its nine seniors who competed in Wilkinson Hall for the final time, along with senior manager Elizabeth Reyes and athletic training student Chinonso Emenim. The program's seniors Brayton Lee, Dan Fongaro, Michael Spangler, Clayton Fielden, Nico Bolivar, Nick South, Nick Willham, Cayden Rooks, and Graham Rooks were recognized for their contributions and dedication to the program. 

After falling behind 8-6 through the first three matches senior Graham Rooks delivered a memorable performance in his final match at Wilkinson Hall. Rooks defeated junior Matthew Williams by tech fall to reclaim the lead for Indiana. 

Lee and Willham capped their final duals wearing the cream and crimson with a win. Both snagged a major decision at 157 lbs. and heavyweight respectively to aid Indiana in its victory.  

The victory marked Indiana's second consecutive win over Chattanooga, with the Hoosiers previously defeating them 32-3 last year.  Indiana finished the season 6-1 record in home duals.  

Indiana looks ahead to the postseason beginning at the Big Ten Tournament held this season in College Park, Maryland, on March 9.

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