Wrestling loses season opener

Bri Pomonis, Staff Writer

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The men’s wrestling team kicked off its season on Nov. 6 with a 36-3 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma State at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Field House.

The Bison finished last season 12-6 overall and 6-3 against Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA). This put them in third place at the EIWA Championships, a program best.

Three EIWA place winners,Victor Lopez ’17, Tom Sleigh ’18, and Tyler Greene ’17, will return to this season’s lineup, all competing in new weight classes. Appearing in the lineup for the first time were Jordan Gessner ’20, Joey Gould ’20, Seth Hogue ’20, and Garrett Hoffman ’20. Head coach Dan Wirnsberger will kick off his 12th year with the Orange and Blue and starts the season with the second highest career wins at 98.

Last season, the Cowboys finished 12-2 with a second place title at the NCAA Championships and started this season with a 4-0 lead in the all-time series. Despite this daunting record, wrestlers and coaches alike were eager for the challenge ahead.

“Wrestling high quality competition early season is not a new addition to our coaching philosophy. This not only allows our guys the opportunity to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament, but also lets us know what improvements need to be made between now and March,” Wirnsberger said.

“We were all excited for the opportunity to wrestle some of the best wrestlers in the country early on. These matches prepared us in knowing what we can do against anyone in the country,” Lopez said.

Lopez tallied the lone win for the Bison by registering a 7-5 decision over his Oklahoma opponent in the 157-lb weight class. After trailing 3-1 in the second period, Lopez came back with a takedown and a reversal, and was able to continue the momentum.

“I knew what to expect going in and what I had to do to prepare. For me that means controlling everything that I can control, including limiting distractions,” Lopez said.

The Bison will continue their road-swing against notorious EIWA rival Lehigh on Nov. 11. Wirnsberger looks forward to facing the next competition and opening conference matches.

“Each season, our guys wrestle well against Lehigh. We need to wrestle with a chip on our shoulder and battle in every position,” Wirnsberger said.

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