Previewing: NWCA Preseason #16 Loras College Wrestling
PHOTO: Jim Naprstek
PHOTO: Jim Naprstek
Fri, Nov. 8, 2013 - [Wrestling]
 

A year ago in our season preview, head coach Randy Steward talked about changing, for the better, the way things operated on a day-to-day basis with his young roster. Now, his focus is on taking the experience those wrestlers gained and the mentality that has set in and reinforcing what it takes to be a great wrestling team. 

 

"We are getting to the point where the talent level in our room has increased dramatically," Steward says. "The work ethic and expectations are at a new level."

 

"We expect to win," Steward says. "Those three words are what we're spending time making everyone understand. Expect to win."

 

Steward and Ryan Birt, who was recently named Associate Head Coach, didn't lose a single wrestler to graduation in May and have a lineup full of guys who gained valuable experience las season.

 

"We're going to use November and December to provide a lot of opportunities to compete and come January, I'll look for us to really come together," Steward added. "When we get everyone healthy and down to their correct weight we will be a very competitive team."

 

Among the success the Duhawks have to build on is the seven returning wrestlers who won at least 20 times in 2012-13. James Buss and Nick Steger each eclipsed 30 wins. Stephan Birt, Joe Butler, Greg Vance, Malcolm Watson, and Evan Weaver all won at least 20. The Duhawks will have Joe Wood and Matt Holmes back this season as well. Buss, a sophomore now, starts this year at #2 in the preseason rankings at heavyweight and Wood is #8 at 149-pounds. Each of those two Duhawks reached the All-American podium in their last trip to nationals.

 

The season begins tomorrow at the annual Loras Open at Five Flags Center. Steward also expressed satisfaction with the team's return to the NWCA Duals in Des Moines in January.

 

Loras doubled their dual win total from 2011-12 to 2012-13 and jumped two spots in the IIAC standings.

 

A CLOSER LOOK

2021-13 Record: 10-13, 3-4 in IIAC (5th)

Returning Dual lineup wrestlers:

Stephan Birt/174, James Buss/HWT, Joe Butler/184, Greg Vance/141, Malcolm Watson/197, Evan Weaver, Nick Steger/133

 

Also keep an eye on:

Matt Holmes and 2011-12 IIAC Outstanding Wrestler Joe 'Barney' Wood return in 2013-14.

Steven DeWitt

 

Watch them in home duals:

January 15, vs. Buena Vista (Graber)

January 25, IIAC Duals

February 7, vs. Dubuque (AWC)

February 9, vs. St. John's & UW-Platteville (AWC)

 

Other home tournaments:

January 11, "Flash" Flanagan Open in Graber Sports Center

February 1, Duhawk Open in Graber Sports Center

 

Circle Your Calendar:

March 1, NCAA Division III Central Regionals at Five Flags Center

March 14, NCAA Division III National Championships – Cedar Rapids, Iowa