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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Busy week shows promise for UA wrestling

    Still in its infancy, the Arizona men’s wrestling team showed its meddle this weekend.

    The Wildcats fought tooth and nail in the 2007 Embry-Riddle Open Tournament at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott and against Pima College in a dual meet at the Student Recreation Center on Wednesday.

    Team President Dave Addison placed fourth in the 197-pound weight division in the Embry-Riddle Open, and four other wrestlers – Pat Cundiff, Justin Mauser, Kyle Curtin and Bryan Rodgers – finished one match shy of placing.

    “”There was lots of close matches against a lot of tough competition, so, overall, I’d say it was a successful week,”” said UA head coach P.J. Rovinelli.

    The Embry-Riddle Open featured several NCAA Division-I opponents, such as Cal State-Fullerton and ASU, as well as good wrestling programs at schools including Pima College and Grand Canyon University.

    “”We got lots of compliments from other coaches over the weekend. They were impressed with where we (stood as a program),”” Rovinelli said, pointing to the team’s talent level despite being in its first year as a sport at any level at the UA in more than 20 years.

    “”I think our performance really legitimize our program and will help us beef up our schedule for next year,”” he added.

    Even though the team wasn’t victorious in either event – falling 15-7 in Wednesday’s dual meet versus Pima and in the weekend tournament – Rodgers said he’s confident in the direction the team is heading.

    “”We definitely made some big strides and showed we’re capable of doing some big things,”” Rodgers said. “”We proved our program can do some things, and I really think we can carry this over to our upcoming tournaments.””

    Later this week, the wrestling team heads to face Cal State-Fullerton to compete in another series of matches, then goes to Boston for three events in three days.

    Rodgers said the East has a good wrestling reputation and is positive the team will face some of the best wrestlers in the country.

    The only way to get better is to wrestle the best, he added, and the team is excited to see how it stacks up against more top competition later in the season.

    “”I’m really excited for the rest of the season. We wrestled tough every match, and we’ll keep stepping up our conditioning so we can wrestle better,”” Rovinelli said. “”Most of the Pac-10 should be (at the upcoming tournament), so this will be another good test to see what we can do later in the season.

    The conditioning drills paid dividends for the other wrestlers, too, as everybody wrestled stronger over the weekend than they did on Wednesday, Rovinelli said.

    Team captain Rich Moreno had two one-point losses at the Embry-Riddle Open, and

    Rodgers took part in perhaps the most interesting matches of the week, both against Pima’s Rico Sanchez.

    After coming out strong in the opening three-minute period in Wednesday night’s match, Rodgers couldn’t keep Sanchez down and eventually lost 14-12 in overtime.

    The two squared off against each other in Prescott, and Rodgers walked away with 13-10 win in another see-saw battle.

    “”Conditioning was definitely a part of my loss in the first match,”” Rodgers said. “”(Rico) is a solid wrestler, but I can beat him, and it was good to come back and win in the second match.””

    Rovinelli said it will take continued hard work for the team to succeed in Boston and beyond.

    “”Hopefully, we can then open the second semester on a positive note and get some wins,”” he said.

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