AU wrestling prepares for 2015-2016 season
For senior wrestling captain John Boyle, the 2015-2016 wrestling season began immediately after last year’s NCAA tournament. Over the last nine months, Boyle has balanced a stable diet, high work ethic and strong mental focus in hopes of achieving success throughout the entire duration of the season, which runs from November to March.
“It can be a lot to handle,” Boyle said, “but that is what it takes to be the best, and our team has proven they are ready for the season.”
Led by Boyle, the team returns all of its wrestlers from last year, including six seniors who bring experience and leadership to the mat. Four freshmen and three transfer students also add to this year’s roster of 24 wrestlers. Jake Scanlan, a freshman from Johnston, Iowa, joins the team after a year at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. where he trained and placed third in freestyle at the 2015 UWW Junior Nationals.
The two graduate students, Mitchell Wightman and Tyler Scotton, hail from Boston University and will be working towards their MBA with one year of eligibility remaining in their collegiate wrestling careers. They both qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2014 and look to return to the tournament this year.
In addition to the new wrestlers, Clint Musser joined the wrestling staff as the new assistant coach after spending the 2014-2015 season as an assistant coach at Cleveland State. The team has already embraced Musser’s expertise, and the wrestlers said they look forward to improving under his guidance.
“The charisma Clint brings has changed the atmosphere of the team,” junior Cole Moseley said .“Through his coaching, everyone believes they can win no matter who they are wrestling.”
Head coach Teague Moore also brought on Chad Hanke as an additional assistant to the team in July. Hanke worked as a volunteer assistant at Oregon State after wrestling as a four-year starter and NCAA Tournament qualifier for Oregon State in 2011 and 2013. Hanke and Mussler join Moore, who is in his fourth season at AU.
“Teague builds an environment where people not only succeed in wrestling, but also in many other aspects of life,” Mike Dahlstrom, one of the six seniors on the team, said.
Photo caption: Cole Moseley ready to wrestle.
AU wrestles in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) conference along with 15 other teams, and individuals must qualify for the conference tournament each year by competing as starters in their weight class. Wrestlers may also earn a spot at the NCAA Championships based on their finish in the conference tournament. Last year, at least two wrestlers from every weight class at the EIWA championships earned a spot at NCAAs. Senior captains Boyle and David Terao both represented AU in the NCAA tournament last season with Boyle in the 157 weight class and Terao in the 125 weight class. Boyle, who fell to his opponent in the round of 16, said he remains motivated by his experience last year and hopes to move even deeper in the tournament this year.
“I know I can not only get there again, but have better success this time around,” Boyle said.
Terao earned AU’s highest finish at NCAA’s by advancing to the round of 12.
Top: Senior captain John Boyle wrestles an opponent at 157 lbs.
Below: Senior captain David Terao wrestles at 125 lbs against an opponent last year. Terao led the team last year the NCAA Championships, advancing to the round of 12.
The season started early for junior Jason Grimes, who earned an invitation to the 50th annual NWCA All-Star Classic tournament in Atlanta, Ga on Nov. 1. The tournament, which features features many of the top Division 1 wrestlers across the country, occurs annually, and served as a homecoming for Grimes, who grew up in Atlanta. In the 174-pound division, Grimes fell to his opponent from Cornell University, Brandon Womack, with a score of 8-3.
The remainder of the team will begin competition on Nov. 14 with a travel meet to Campbell University in North Carolina for a non-conference dual.
The Eagles will then compete in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 4-5 and the Midlands Invitational, hosted by Northwestern University, on Dec. 29-30. Both tournaments feature top wrestlers from around the country and will expose the Eagles to the high level of competition they may face in the NCAA tournament. AU will also compete in a road dual against powerhouse Oklahoma University on Jan. 24, a team that defeated the Eagles 30-13 last season.
On Feb. 6, the team will head to Lehigh University for an EIWA dual meet. In addition to the tough road duals on their schedule, the Eagles will also host Duke University, Navy, and Ohio University.
The 2016 EIWA Championships will be on March 5-6, in Princeton, N.J, and the NCAA Championships will be on March 17-19 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Esteban Gomez-Rivera, a redshirt junior, said he is very pleased with AU’s competitive schedule and hopes that the challenging matches will set the team up well for the end of season tournaments.
“The competitive matchups against ranked opponents will not only help our seeding, but also help us be better prepared for the EIWA’s and for the NCAA’s,” Gomez-Rivera said.