The University of Indianapolis wrestling team’s regular season ended on Sunday, Feb. 14 with the Dr. Mark Lombardi Maryville Duals in St. Louis, Mo. UIndy faced Maryville University, Notre Dame College and Ouachita Baptist University. UIndy fell to Maryville 30-18 and Notre Dame 26-15, but claimed a 31-14 victory over Ouachita.
Freshman Jordan Collins defeated all three of his opponents at 174 lbs. He defeated his Notre Dame and Maryville opponents with pins, and his Ouachita with a 16-4 major decision.
“That one was a little more difficult,” Collins said. “He was really good at staying on his back. I had a double armbar, and I couldn’t get him over.”
Six other members of the team defeated two of their opponents and added to the team’s score. Redshirt freshman Kyle Keller, senior Clayton Monebrake, redshirt freshman Dylan Faulkenberg, and redshirt senior Josh Kieffer were part of that group.
Before the Lombardi Duals, the Greyhounds competed against McKendree University on Feb. 9. Despite four wins, the Hounds fell 28-18. Kieffer, sophomore Tyler Scott at 197, redshirt freshman Brendon Kelley at 149, and redshirt junior Taylor DeLong at 184 each earned wins.
Graduate Assistant Wrestling Coach Alex Johns is proud of the ranking.
“It shows the work we’ve put in, the dedication, the hours spent [and] the training,” he said. “Most of the people who are ranked are individuals with a lot of experience. I think that some of our kids can definitely make a coming out party at regionals or nationals this year. That’s definitely a big opportunity for them to showcase their talents.”
With the regular season in the books, UIndy is turning its attention to the NCAA Super Region 2 Tournament. Johns is looking forward to what the team can do.
“We’ve got a pretty good opportunity as a team to do well,” he said. “I expect us to compete hard. This is the time to shine. We’ve been preparing for this all year.”
Super Region is followed by the NCAA Division II National Championships held in Sioux Falls, S.D. Johns expects some Hound wrestlers to advance to the championships.
“We have some experienced guys,” he said. “I think we’re ready. I think we have some guys that are definitely capable of making some noise.”
At the end of post-season competitions, the Hounds will focus on off-season training to prepare for their 2016-2017 season. The team will train together over the remainder of the school year, and those who stay on campus or in the area for the summer will train together, too, with the main focus on weight training.
The Hounds also will host summer wrestling camps for kids.
“It’s nothing too intense. Two days a week, they come in, and they get a chance to work out with the college guys,” Johns said. “I think it’s a good opportunity for the area kids, and then we can also practice.”
Collins hopes to improve his strength in the off-season. A lost match at the Greyhound Open in the first half of that season set a goal for him.
“He [his opponent] was just a lot better than me, and it was noticeable,” Collins said. “It was a good experience because it gave me a goal to get to. Hopefully by the time I’m a junior or a senior, I’ll be that guy.”
Although Johns will not be coaching at UIndy next season, he sees a promising future for the team.
“I expect us to keep rising as a program,” Johns said. “…[We’ll keep] putting the best guys out there to compete.”
Johns graduated from UIndy in 2014 after wrestling as a Greyhound. He has coached since the fall of 2014. As a Hound, he has experienced firsthand the bonds that are made between teammates and coaches.
“They’ve come together in the wrestling room, on trips and outside,” he said. “…We’re all doing the same thing, we’re on the same routine [and] the same schedule. So we all become pretty close. That’s the No. 1 thing [being close]. Even when I wrestled here, we were all one close-knit group.”
The NCAA Super Region 2 Tournament will be hosted at UIndy in Nicoson Hall on Feb. 26-27. The tournament is set to begin at 10 a.m.