Wrestling prepares for three matches in three days

Danny Rice, Sports Reporter

Beavers try to avoid 0-2 start in Pac-12 play this weekend in the Bay Area

By Danny Rice

Sports Reporter

After splitting last weekend’s series of dual meets, the now unranked Beavers get ready to travel south where they’ll have face a trio of Pac-12 opponents in three days. They start by facing No. 22 Stanford on Thursday, followed by Cal Poly on Friday and finishing with Cal-State Bakersfield on Saturday.

Head Coach Jim Zalesky sees this weekend as good opportunity to get ready and get acclimated to what it is going to be like at the NCAA tournament.

“It’s good practice for our guys for the NCAA tournament,” Zalesky said. “It’s three days in a row and this kind of prepares us for the national tournament.”

Making Weight Three Days in a Row

One factor the Beavers (6-5, 0-1 Pac-12) will have to overcome this weekend is having to weigh in three days in a row. Weigh-ins usually take place an hour before the meet begins so once the weigh-ins are completed, the wrestlers are free to hydrate and fuel up for their match. This weekend, they have to make sure they keep their weight in check all three days. The other schools the Beavers are facing this weekend don’t have to combat the problem of weighing in three days straight, but redshirt junior 133-pounder Joey Palmer sees it as a good opportunity. 

“It’ll be good for guys whose weight is kind of out of control,” Palmer said. “Because at nationals, we have to make weight three days in a row as well.”

Avoiding 0-2

In the match against the Cardinal (9-2, 2-1), the Beavers will try and avoid starting 0-2 in Pac-12 play for the first time in the Jim Zalesky era. 

“I think we just have to come in with a better mentality,” redshirt sophomore 174-poounder Tyler Chay said of the key to winning against Stanford. “As you saw (last weekend), your mindset can totally change the outcome of a match.”

The dual meet will consist of two top-20 ranked matchups with No. 6 sophomore 125-pounder Ronnie Bresser facing No. 17 redshirt sophomore Connor Schram—who moved down a weight class this year and Pac-12 Wrestler of the Week, No. 10 redshirt sophomore heavyweight Amarveer Dhesi against No. 20 redshirt sophomore Nathan Butler. Butler is the reigning 2015 Pac-12 champion at heavyweight and a returning NCAA qualifier. 

“The biggest key for us is we can’t give up bonus points,” Zalesky said. “You got to go out there and turn things around and some guys have to keep it going.”

Another matchup to keep an eye out for is the 165-pound match between senior Seth Thomas and redshirt junior Jim Wilson. Wilson defeated Thomas twice last year—one by medical forfeit in the Pac-12 finals and one by decision, winning 4-2 in the regular season. Wilson is also a returning All-American where he finished eighth at the NCAA tournament.

Matchups on Friday and Saturday

After facing the Cardinal on Thursday, the Beavers will make the three-hour drive south where they’ll face Cal Poly (2-7, 0-2). Oregon State owns the all-time series, 39-11-2, with the Beavers winning 26-10 last year in Corvallis.

An interesting matchup will be the 157-pound match where redshirt sophomore Abraham Rodriguez will face junior Colt Shorts, who is ranked first in the conference and is currently on a five-match win streak. Rodriguez, who has been struggling as of late, has shown promise in his past three matches losing by a minimal margin with one of those losses coming in controversial fashion.

The Beavers will then finish their road trip by driving two hours to face Cal-State Bakersfield (9-3, 2-0).  The Roadrunners are one of the surprises this year in the Pac-12 where they have defeated No. 22 Stanford and a Utah Valley team that beat the Beavers earlier in the year. They have also won nine dual meets for the first time since the 2008-2009 season where they finished the season with ten victories.

Oregon State owns the all-time series with CSU Bakersfield, 23-11, with the Beavers winning 32-5 last year in Corvallis.

CSU Bakersfield includes two ranked wrestlers in No. 7 redshirt senior 174-pounder Bryce Hammond and No. 8 redshirt senior 197-pounder Reuben Franklin. 

In order for the Beavers to perform well in the latter dual meets, Zalesky says it comes down to one thing—emotion.

“We’ve got to have emotion,” Zalesky said. “Any athletic event, you have to have emotion. That first match might be ok, but we have to keep it up for that second and third match.”

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