Wrestling Closing Out Conference Play, Looking to Pac-12 Championship

By: Mitchell Monge

As the Pac-12 Wrestling Championship draws closer, Oregon State is beginning to look ahead ever so slightly.

Riding on five straight Pac-12 Championships, the Beavers have lots of postseason experience. However, they must first complete the end of their regular season schedule before moving on.

The team hosts Cal Poly Friday afternoon, and CSU Bakersfield Sunday night with Senior Night being held before Sunday’s Contest.

One of three graduating seniors, Joey Palmer, is still focused on winning the rest of the way.

“I think these last two to three duals will be good going into Pac-12s,” said Palmer. “They’ll get the team ready.”

Coach Jim Zalesky is not overlooking these upcoming matches, but also has his sights set on the end prize.

“Even though we’ve got these matches this weekend, we’re still looking forward to (Pac-12 Championships in) three weeks,” said Zalesky. “They’re gonna fight, they got new coaches, they’re fighting, doing better… so we can’t have a letdown.”

Cal Poly Mustangs (6-8, 0-2 Conference) come into Corvallis coming off a win over Northern Colorado this past Sunday. The Mustangs are anchored by 157-pounder Colt Shorts, a Senior ranked No. 18.

“Picking up the pace in practice,” said Zalesky in response to what his team needs to do to win this weekend. “Picking up the intensity, and working on the mentality (is important).”

But Zalesky was primarily focused on the Pac-12 Championships coming up at the end of the month.

“We’ve also got to win these matches individually,” said Zalesky. “(Especially) to give yourself the best seed at the Pac-12 Tournament.”

Redshirt Sophomore Corey Griego has been wrestling well as of late also for the Beavers, going undefeated individually through conference play. The 197-pounder is both confident and excited going into Pac-12s.

“Going in, we just gotta have fun,” said Griego. “We gotta be excited, and ready to go out there and win Pac-12s again and have some fun.”

Griego, No. 17, is also among three ranked beavers also heading into the matchup.

“That’s cool, but rankings don’t mean anything,” said Griego. “I’ve dropped matches to guys that weren’t even ranked when I was top-15.”

Joining Griego at No. 17 is senior 149-pounder Joey Delgado, and junior heavyweight Cody Crawford is No. 16 by The Open Mat.

Delgado, Griego, and Crawford look to keep their success rolling as they face the Cal Poly Mustangs at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon. The last conference match of the season will be against CSU Bakersfield, Sunday at 7 p.m.