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Wrestling team eyes season

In+the+125-weight+class%2C+Alex+Hernandez-Figueroa%2C+a+redshirt-freshman+and+Sergio+Mendez%2C+a+redshirt-senior%2C+wrestle+in+the+Icardo+Center+during+the+Blue-Gold+Dual+on+Oct.+21%0APhoto+by+Simer+Khurana%2F+The+Runner
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Wrestling team eyes season

In the 125-weight class, Alex Hernandez-Figueroa, a redshirt-freshman and Sergio Mendez, a redshirt-senior, wrestle in the Icardo Center during the Blue-Gold Dual on Oct. 21
Photo by Simer Khurana/ The Runner

In the 125-weight class, Alex Hernandez-Figueroa, a redshirt-freshman and Sergio Mendez, a redshirt-senior, wrestle in the Icardo Center during the Blue-Gold Dual on Oct. 21 Photo by Simer Khurana/ The Runner

In the 125-weight class, Alex Hernandez-Figueroa, a redshirt-freshman and Sergio Mendez, a redshirt-senior, wrestle in the Icardo Center during the Blue-Gold Dual on Oct. 21 Photo by Simer Khurana/ The Runner

In the 125-weight class, Alex Hernandez-Figueroa, a redshirt-freshman and Sergio Mendez, a redshirt-senior, wrestle in the Icardo Center during the Blue-Gold Dual on Oct. 21 Photo by Simer Khurana/ The Runner


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By Peter Castillo

Sports Editor

  After sending five wrestlers to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships last season, the CSU Bakersfield wrestling team is looking for even more success this season.

  This season’s roster is young, with only three seniors, but is very talented and experienced nonetheless.

  “We have the talent to take that next step. We have all the ingredients,” said CSUB Head Coach Manny Rivera. “It’s really just a matter of believing it and going for it.”

  Rivera is entering his second season at CSUB.

  Redshirt-senior Matt Williams, who is the starter again at 197, was one of the five qualifiers last season. Williams placed third at the Pac-12 Championships and posted the best finish of any CSUB wrestler last year at the NCAA Tournament by going 3-2.

  Williams enters this season ranked as No. 11 in the 197 class nationally. This season, he is expecting to have even more success.

  “The key is to not maintain, I want to do a lot better,” said Williams. “I still have to keep that hard-working mentality but really just having fun out there is key.”

  Fellow redshirt-senior Coleman Hammond, a Bakersfield native, finished second at 149 at the Pac-12 Championships last season to qualify for the NCAA Tournament where he went 1-2. But this season, Hammond will be starting for CSUB at 157.

  “Following in the steps of the guys that came before me and just seeing the way they trained and trying to take examples from those guys of what to do gives you a sense of consistency in your life,” said Hammond.

  Sophomore Sean Nickell earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament last season by winning the conference title at 125. He went 3-0 at the Pac-12 Championships. This season, Nickell has moved up to 133 and will be the starter.

  Redshirt-sophomore Russell Rohlfing, who is wrestling again at 141, also qualified. Rohlfing is ranked No. 19 nationally in his weight class. He will be the starter at 141.

  Junior Carlos Herrera will provide quality depth for the Roadruners at 141. The Bakersfield native finished third in the Pac-12 Championships last season.

  Redshirt-sophomore Lorenzo De La Riva qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season at 165. He placed second at the Pac-12 Championships to earn a spot. He will start for the Roadrunners at 165.

  At CSUB’s annual Blue-Gold Dual held on Saturday, Oct. 21, De La Riva’s knee was heavily wrapped. Rivera was not at all concerned with De La Riva’s leg.

  “He’s good, that’s really there more for protection,” said Rivera. “That’s something that he did a while back, but it’s nothing that we’re concerned about.”

  Rivera notes that this year’s team has quality depth but the team could have been sharper at the Blue-Gold Dual.

  “We can still be better, we’re not at our peak yet,” said Rivera. “To be honest, we can be a little bit sharper but we still have a couple weeks.”

  Redshirt-senior Sergio Mendez is the starter at 125. Sophomore Kalani Tonge will start for the Roadrunners at 141. 

  There will be competition for CSUB at three weight divisions 174, 184 and 285.

  A pair of redshirt-juniors Bryce DeCarmargo and Bryan Battisto will be competing for the starting spot at 174. Battisto defeated DeCarmargo in overtime at the Blue-Gold Duel.

  Redshirt-freshman Dominic Ducharme beat redshirt-sophomore Mark Penyacsek in a close bout and will most likely be the starter at 184.

  Redshirt-freshman Jarrod Snyder won in a competitive match that went four overtimes over redshirt-sophomore Dominic Balmer in the heavyweight division and is the probable starter moving forward.

  “This is what we have to go off,” said Rivera. “They’ll have a chance to compete against each other again and things might change, obviously.”

  This season’s nonconference home schedule features duals against the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin on Friday, Nov. 17 at home. This will be CSUB’s first home meet of the season. Nonconference road matchups include Fresno State, the University of Wyoming and Duke University.

  CSUB will open conference play on the road against Stanford University on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 3:30 p.m.

    The regular season will begin for the Roadrunners on Thursday, Nov. 2 on the road against the University of Buffalo.

 

Heavyweight redshirt-freshman Jarrod Snyder throws heavyweight redshirt-sophomore Dominic Balmer in the Icardo Center on Oct. 21 during the Blue-Gold Dual.
Photo by Simer Khurana/The Runner

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Wrestling team eyes season