Despite multiple injuries which forced forfeits, the University of Indianapolis wrestling team earned one win against Ouachita Baptist University during the Dr. Lombardi Duals on Feb. 11.
The Hounds started off the day facing the Limestone College Saints. UIndy began with two losses, by fall and technical fall.
After, the Hounds got their points up with wins from redshirt senior Nick Crume, redshirt junior Angelo Robles, junior Shelden Struble and redshirt sophomore Brody Conner who all recorded victories against the Saints.
To end the match up, the Hounds acquired two losses by injury default and a forfeit in the heavyweight, giving Limestone the victory, 33-14.
Head Wrestling Coach Jason Warthan said that the team was coming into a hard week. Many of the starters such as redshirt junior Heath Lange were out with injury, which made the team forfeit multiple matches over the course of the day,
“We did intend to beat Limestone, but it just wasn’t really in the cards with the guys we took, the number of backups,” Warthan said.
Following the dual with the Saints, the Hounds took another loss against the Notre Dame College Falcons, 40-6. The Hounds were only able to win two battles, one win came from redshirt freshman Matt McKinney with a decision over his opponent. 12th ranked Conner earned a victory in double overtime against the No. 4 Falcons. The victories could not compensate for the last two matches that the team was forced to forfeit.
According to Warthan, the team has been through many injuries this year. These injuries have been with them for most of the season and have set them back not only in the Lombardi Duals, but other meets throughout the season.
“Our starting 125 pounder was hurt, our starting 197 pounder was hurt so we brought a couple of backups,” Warthan said. “We were without a few starters and ended up forfeiting a couple weight classes. We had wrestled Notre Dame before so we kind of wanted to make sure we had a couple match ups but kind of conceded to the dual to preserve health.”
The Hounds concluded their day with their lone win against the Ouachita Baptist University Tigers, 30-15.
To start the match, the Tigers also forfeited a match, putting the Hounds up 6-0. Redshirt freshman Elliot Molloy, redshirt sophomore Austin Robbins, Conner and Crume all took victories over the Tigers before forfeiting the final two weight classes.
Crume’s win in the dual awarded him with his 100th win, making him the 14th wrestler in UIndy wrestling program to reach the milestone. Crume is ranked second in the nation, is a three time All-American, and has three trips to national’s under his belt.
Lange said that as he recovers from a shoulder tear, he has been able to observe the team from the sidelines.
“It’s just hard to compete at such a level when you have so many of our starters out,” Lange said. “Last weekend isn’t really important as far as the overall success of the season.”
Though the team has struggled with injuries that have put them back in meets throughout the year, Lange said that the duals and other minor meets do not show the strength and ability that this team has. The main focus of the season now is regionals.
“We will be ready for regionals and that’s all that really matters,” Lange said. “We’ll get a couple of our starting guys back up for regionals.
With regionals coming up and nationals in mind, both Warthan and Lange said they have high expectations for the meet and know the men will do well overall. After being one of four team members to visit nationals last season, Lange said that despite his, and many of his teammates injuries, there are men on the team that have the talent to make it to nationals this season. He said for the Super Region 2 Tournament on Feb. 23-24 in Findlay, Ohio, the focus is getting the starters healthy and on the mat.
“I think we can make another round for championship. We have more guys on the team this year that have the capability of making it to nationals, so I’m excited,” Lange said.