Oct. 29, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The 2007-08 Hoosier wrestling season begins tonight with the Cream and Crimson Intrasquad Scrimmage, held at the Brown County High School in Nashville, Indiana. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will include at least 10 match-ups. Admission is free to the public.
2007-08 SEASON PREVIEW
The Indiana University wrestling team will be under the guidance of Head Coach Duane Goldman once again in 2007-08, his 16th year at the helm. The Hoosiers, who placed for the 14th year in a row at the NCAA Tournament in 2006-07, are looking to finish high at the NCAAs and in the Big Ten during the `07-`08 campaign.
PROVEN WINNERS RETURN
Four All-Americans return for IU this season, including two-time All-American Brandon Becker. Matt Coughlin, Angel Escobedo and Andrae Hernandez all reached the stand last season, while Becker accomplished the feat in 2005 and 2006.
Escobedo has the highest finish of the quartet, finishing in fourth place. Becker placed fifth and seventh in his freshman and sophomore years, respectively. Coughlin took seventh while Hernandez finished in eighth place.
Indiana returns two other NCAA qualifiers this season. Trevor Perry and Marc Bennett each qualified for the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and Bennett fell just one victory shy of earning All-American status.
Escobedo will start at 125 lbs. after leading the team with 39 total wins and 14 pins in 2006-07. Both of those totals rank as the seventh-most in school history for a single season, and the 39 wins are the most at IU since Coyte Cooper's 38 victories in 2002-03. Escobedo's fourth-place finish at the NCAAs is the highest for an Indiana freshman since the 1930s.
Redshirt sophomore Wesley Fike
is the other returner at 125 lbs. for the Hoosiers after redshirting last season. He earned two wins his freshman year.
Incoming freshman Matt Ortega and Steve Salinas will also add to the depth at the 125 lbs. position. Ortega is a four-time New Mexico state champion and posted a 178-7 overall high school record. Salinas is a three-time state qualifier from South Bend Clay High School where he holds the school record for most career wins.
Hernandez returns for his third season starting in 133 lbs. position. He took his second trip to the NCAA Tournament in as many seasons last year, earning All-American honors with an eighth-place finish. He was one of four Hoosiers to compile 30 or more wins in 2006-07.
True freshman Reece Freeman solidifies the 133 lbs. position for IU. He went undefeated last season at Bloomington South High School, posting a 48-0 mark en route to a state championship.
It's a three-horse race for time in the lineup at the 141 lbs. weight class. Junior Scott Kelly will compete with freshmen Jeff Pelton and Alex Warren for the starting position. Kelly has wrestled in various weight classes the past two seasons, compiling eight wins thus far in his career. Pelton is a highly-touted recruit with an Ohio state championship and two runner-up finishes on his resume. Warrren, meanwhile, won 11 matches during his redshirt year and also won a state championship in high school, the 2006 Indiana 130 lbs. title.
Redshirt freshman Kurt Kinser and Sophomore Nick Walpole are expected to reside at 149 lbs. Kinser is coming off a 15-4 redshirt season. He won the Missouri Open Championship last season while wrestling unattached, topping the No. 1 seed in the finals. Walpole, meanwhile, provides varsity experience after competing in 25 matches last season as a true freshman.
Two-time All-American Brandon Becker will man the 157 lbs. spot for the Cream and Crimson. He has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of his first three seasons and posted a 14-2 dual-meet record in 2006-07.
Freshmen Greer Bivenour and Paul Young may also see time at 157 lbs. Bivenour is a two-time state qualifier from Lewis Center, Ohio. Young finished his redshirt season with a 12-5 record. Wrestling unattached, he won six consecutive matches in the consolation bracket at the Michigan State Open last season to finish in fourth place.
Coughlin showed he is one of the country's elite with his run in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. En route to finishing seventh place in the 149 lbs. weight class, he defeated three nationally-ranked opponents. Coughlin should be even stronger this year moving up to his natural weight class. Young and Junior Kyle Samuels are two additional options for IU in the 165-pound weight class.
Perry racked up 23 wins, a 13-3 dual match record and seven Big Ten victories during his NCAA-qualifying season a year ago and is expected to start at 174 lbs. once again in 2007-08. Samuels and Sophomores Nick Avery and Seth Parker will also contribute in this weight class. Avery went 8-7 as a true freshman, including a 2-2 showing in dual matches.
There are plenty of options in the 184-pound weight class, but Senior Marc Bennett is the clear-cut starter after piling up 33 wins and eight pin falls last season. He made his first trip to the NCAA Tournament and looks to build on that success this year.
Redshirt Freshmen Eric Cameron, Jantzen Minton and Matt Powless will all battle for time in this spot. Cameron and Minton each recorded four wins in their redshirt seasons while Powless won the Indiana state championship his senior season.
Minton could also see some time at the 197-pound position, with Freshman Joe Fagiano as his main competition for that spot. Fagiano won the Illinois state title as a junior and finished as the runner-up his senior campaign. Last season's starter, Nate Everhart, is likely to take a redshirt in 2007-08 due to injury.
The heavyweight position will be filled by either Sophomore Justun Kuhn or Freshman Luke Watkins. Kuhn wrestled last season as a true freshman and came out victorious in four of his nine matches. Watkins improved drastically as upperclassman in high school, putting a together a 58-4 mark during his last two seasons.