Wayne State wrestlers start season strong

Zachary Hain, Staff Writer

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The Wayne State wrestling club competed in two duals and a tournament last weekend. Friday night, the club took on the University of Saskatchewan and, later, York College. The wrestlers competed in the tournament at the Jimmie Open in Jamestown, North Dakota.

WSC Coach Greg VanderWeil liked the team’s performances over the weekend.

“We competed really well in the two duals; we didn’t win either dual but we were giving up three weight classes,” VanderWeil said.

The wrestling team went 7-9 as a team in both Friday duals. Top performers on Friday were sophomore heavyweight wrestler Angel Rojo at 285 pounds, and senior transfer student Tyson Cisneros at 235 pounds. Both wrestlers picked up two wins in their classes. On Saturday, Rojo took three wins. Behind him was Tyson Cisneros with 4 wins and 2 losses on the weekend.

“Our outstanding wrestler of the weekend was our heavyweight, Rojo, with five wins and two losses…and I think all five wins were by pin,” VanderWeil said.

The team is being led by co-head coaches VanderWeil and Justin Smith. This season will serve as VanderWeil’s twelfth season spearheading the WSC wrestling club and Smith’s first year as a coach. Smith previously worked with the team as an assistant.

VanderWeil said they have 13 members including five seniors: co-captains Hunter Weiss and Ethan Fitzler; Tommy Nelson; Gerald Kinkel, who is currently away at military training but will return in January; and Cisneros. Smith is excited for the rest of this season and hopes to push guys to perform their best.

“We’ve got some returning studs…we got one guy who was one match away from being an All-American and we’re hoping to push him and a few others over that edge and maybe get two, at least three All-Americans,” Smith said.

Smith also said leadership from the five seniors is what will drive the team forward. One of the leaders on the team is senior Hunter Weiss from Beatrice. Weiss had a solid amount of success within the last few months and hopes to continue that success this year both for himself and as a team.

“This year, my personal goal is to be on the podium at Nationals,” Weiss said. “I was one win away this past spring from being on the podium, from being an All-American. I made one mistake and it cost me everything. But, as a team, I would like for us, if we’re invited to go to the National Duals out in Liberty, Virginia, I would like to be another top 10 team again like we were last year.”
Weiss recently won the Greco-Roman division at NCWA Nationals in Dallas, Texas last summer.

“I was offered an opportunity to go down to Texas during the spring when we were down at our national tournament to help with a wrestling camp for five days, and it would also lead to wrestling down there for the NCWA Greco Nationals,” Weiss said.

Greco-Roman is different from amateur wrestling which was the style that Weiss was used to.

“The Greco, it’s not normally how I wrestle because usually I like attacking the legs, but in Greco you can’t attack the legs at all otherwise that’s a penalty point,” Weiss said. “It was a new experience, good thing to learn. I learned some things I could add to my arsenal.”

VanderWeil said if anyone wants to get involved with the wrestling club, they meet on the stage in Rice Auditorium at 4 p.m. VanderWeil is also available in his office in the Certified Center of Applied Technology Building, Room 104E.

The club will go to the Dakota Wesleyan Open in Mitchell, South Dakota, on Saturday, Nov. 9.

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