Wrestlers run to win against top teams

    67

    By ABE MILLS

    The BYU wrestling team dethroned Western Athletic Conference rival Fresno State 25-13 and swept up Division II Western State 34-6 Saturday in the Smith Fieldhouse.

    Fresno State has won the WAC the last six years and has never lost a dual meet to a conference opponent.

    “This is by far the biggest match of the year for us,” head coach Mark Schultz said. “It’s big for me because I just love beating Fresno State.”

    Last week, Schultz said the Cougars needed someone to step up big, and the team did not let him down. BYU won the first three matches to take a 13-0 lead and never looked back.

    Rangi Smart started the Cougars off at the 165-pound weight class by dominating his opponent 14-3. According to freshman Scott Coleman, Smart’s winning ways boosted the rest of the team.

    “Rangi wrestling the first match just gives everybody confidence and you can always count on him to wrestle tough,” Harris said.

    According to Schultz, the key match came in the 174-pound weight class when freshman Ethan Harris tossed Matt Demers of Fresno State in the first 10 seconds of the match, scoring a five-point move. Harris, who stepped in for the Cougars after an injury to former starter Kris West, went on to win 10-5.

    “I knew (Fresno State) didn’t know who I was, so I stepped in and was able to throw him and get ahead in the match,” Harris said. “When it worked, I was overjoyed.”

    Among others who stepped up were Coleman and senior Gary Sanderson. Both Coleman and Sanderson attributed the team’s success to last week’s practices and their new running schedule.

    “Everybody wanted it more and I think we were just overall more prepared for this week,” Coleman said.

    Sanderson agreed.

    “Coach really stepped up and worked us hard this week,” he said. “I think running in the morning makes us mentally tougher.”

    Coleman pinned both of his opponents. Sanderson also won both of his matches, including a 7-2 win over Ryan Mizushimi, the No. 6 wrestler in Division II at the 149-pound weight class.

    “I’m a fifth-year senior and this is the first time we beat Fresno,” said Sanderson. “So for me it was awesome to be a part of it.”

    Schultz was also pleased with the way his team wrestled against Western State, who the Cougars lost to on the road in Schultz’s first collegiate coaching assignment.

    “Western State barely lost to Fresno, so I didn’t want to take them lightly,” he said. “Better than beating them was dominating them like we did.”

    With the visible change in his wrestlers’ mental preparedness, Schultz said they will be running every morning for the rest of the season.

    “I felt like it was a whole new team out there,” Schultz said. “It was like I didn’t recognize them at the Cal Poly loss last week. Today, this was the real BYU.”

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email