No. 9 wrestling hosts Regional Duals
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 01:02
After a grueling regular season for No. 9 Oregon State, the postseason has finally arrived.
The Beavers will host three other teams for Regional Duals this Sunday in Gill Coliseum, with the winner advancing to National Duals.
No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 19 Michigan and unranked Kent State will all travel to Corvallis with hopes of moving on in part one of the wrestling playoffs — the second part being the NCAA Championships, which begin March 21.
Starting at 1 p.m., Oregon State (10-3, 3-1 Pac-12) will take on Michigan (9-6, 3-5 Big Ten) on one side of Gill Coliseum while Virginia Tech (14-2, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) takes on Kent State (9-5, 4-1 Mid-American Conference) simultaneously on the other side.
Oregon State already lost to Michigan 21-18 in Gill Coliseum on Nov. 16, so getting revenge would be particularly rewarding.
“It’s one of those losses that I’ve been thinking about ever since it happened,” said No. 4 Chad Hanke, senior heavyweight. “It was our first home match and the first time in front of the fans. We wrestled so bad and we’ve been thinking about them for a long time.”
To take down the Wolverines and advance to the championship match, the Beavers will need to avoid allowing bonus points while scoring them themselves.
“We just have to wrestle better,” said head coach Jim Zalesky. “Michigan outwrestled us the first time. We didn’t finish a lot of matches and they scored quite a few bonus points.”
“We’ve got to have our young guys step up and not give up bonus points, and just wrestle like we’ve been wrestling,” Hanke added. “If we do that I think we’ll tear them up.”
The Beavers will get a lift from the improved performance of their younger unranked wrestlers. The unit is wrestling substantially better than early in the year when OSU first took on Michigan.
“If the last couple weeks are signs of things to come then I think it’s going to be a good weekend for Oregon State,” Hanke said. “[The young guys] have been wrestling like studs lately and really stepping up their game. It’s been the big reason we’ve won seven in a row now.”
“They’ve really been stepping their game up,” added No. 3 Mike Mangrum, 141-pound senior. “They’ve been training really hard, doing what the coaches are telling them and I think they’re going to pull out a couple of upsets this weekend.”
The Beavers will also get the benefit of wrestling at home. OSU had to travel to Iowa for last year’s Regional Duals and was only able to finish second, thus failing to qualify for National Duals.
“It’s a huge advantage,” Hanke said. “They’ve got to come here. Usually on the West Coast we have to travel over there, lose time and not get to sleep in our beds, so everything is falling into place for us to have a good weekend.”
While Regional and National Duals are important, it’s the NCAA Championships at the end of the year that carries more weight. There, individuals will wrestle to become the national champions of their respective weight classes.
Still, Oregon State is excited to prove it’s one of the top programs in the nation from a team standpoint.
“This is definitely more team oriented and sometimes you have to have guys do what’s best for the team and not for themselves,” Hanke said. “Whether it’s not giving up bonus points or getting bonus points. It’s going to be more team oriented, but it’s just as big of a deal for us to win this as it is for individuals.”
Andrew Kilstrom, sports reporter