By Bobby Camerlinck
It has been a successful season thus far for the UNO wrestlers and this weekend they head to Columbus, Ohio, for the Cliff Keen Division II National Dual Tournament.
Despite being one of the larger tournaments of the year, junior Lance Tolstedt said he and his teammates have not done anything special to prepare.
“We go to practice, of course, and we do some outside running and lifting, but we try not to treat any competition different,” Tolstedt said. “No one gets real hyped up or anything.”
Maverick head coach Mike Denney echoed Tolstedt’s statement:
“Our approach is to be consistent and we have a responsibility to perform well.”
This is the first time in history that Division I, II and III athletes will all be competing for a division championship under the same roof. Considering the level of talent in the same building, one could say it is a wrestling fan’s dream.
“I think it’s a great decision for wrestling,” Denney said. “The National Wrestling Coaches Association brought the tournament into being and it promises an excellent opportunity to showcase your school’s talent against the rest of the nation’s.”
Tough opponents are the only guarantee for the Mavericks. With conference foe and No. 1 North Dakota State and national powerhouse No. 2 Central Oklahoma both bringing strong squads, the day is sure to be filled with tightly contested matches.
As a heavyweight, Tolstedt is no stranger to contests in which he surrenders 20-30 pounds to an opponent. Even so, Tolstedt said his strategy stays the same.
“You’ve got to wear them down, push on them. After they get tired, then you worry about scoring points.”
Scoring points will be the focus for the Mavs as they enter the 16-team tournament and hope to capture a Division II title.
Fourth-seeded UNO (2-0) will face 22nd-seed San Francisco State in the first round of the tournament. The Gators are 1-7 on the season and are led by 184-pounder Mauricio Wright, who is 16-4 and ranked number one in his weight class. The winner between UNO and San Francisco State will meet the winner of 14th-seeded Augustana and fifth-seeded Pittsburgh-Johnstown. The tournament will start at 9 a.m. Saturday and run through Sunday.