Mustangs to Stage Green vs. Gold Intrasquad Meet Friday Night
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly wrestling will sport a completely new look for the 2013-14 season.
The roster will include 13 newcomers and eight wrestlers who were redshirts a year ago.
The Mustangs will conduct a Pac-12 dual meet outdoors in late January.
And the coaching staff features one change as well, with two-time NCAA Division I All-American and four-time national qualifier Scotti Sentes of Central Michigan joining head coach Brendan Buckley, assistant Mitch Monteiro and volunteer coach Kyle Gilchrist.
Returning Pac-12 champions Devon Lotito and Dominic Kastl (pictured at right) headline the list of Cal Poly's 11 returnees, a group seeking to quickly wipe out memories of last year's 2-11 dual meet record.
"Everybody on our team has a chip on his shoulders and has something to prove," said Buckley, entering his third year as head coach. "We had to persevere through a lot of things last year and that has made us stronger as a group.
"Our goal remains to be the top team in the Pac-12 and qualify numerous guys for the NCAA Championship competing to be All-Americans," Buckley added. "We are very young and our young guys still have a lot to learn, but we see a great attitude from all of them and they all want it.
"They are buying into the lifestyle and want to be the best in everything they do," Buckley said.
Cal Poly's recruiting class was ranked No. 25 by InterMat for the second straight year and Buckley's first recruiting class was ranked No. 17.
Cal Poly wrestling, presented by Meathead Movers, will hold its annual Green vs. Gold intrasquad meet Friday at 7 p.m. in the Mott Athletics Center and officially opens its 2013-14 season Nov. 7 with a Pac-12 dual meet at CSU Bakersfield.
The seven home dual meets includes an outdoor match Jan. 30 against Oregon State as well as Pac-12 duals against Boise State on Jan. 12, Stanford on Feb. 9 and Arizona State for Homecoming on Feb. 14. The Mustangs also host North Dakota State on Jan. 4, Menlo on Jan. 18 and South Dakota State on Feb. 9.
The Pac-12 finals will be hosted by Stanford on March 1, with the NCAA Championships to be held March 20-22 in Oklahoma City.
A preview of each of the 10 weight classes:
Britain Longmire returns for his senior season. Winning just three of his first nine matches last year, Longmire finished with a 10-11 mark and a fourth-place Pac-12 finish.
"Longmire had a good second half of the season and started coming into his own late in the season," said Buckley. In the spring, Longmire placed seventh for All-American honors at the 2013 ASICS University National Freestyle Championships, hosted by the University of Akron.
Freshman Colton Schilling, a three-time Oregon State 4A champion from Sweet Home, Oregon, will contend at 125 and 133. "Colton is a competitor who trains really hard, is very intense, is big for the weight and is very good on the mat," said Buckley.
Lotito captured top honors at 133 pounds in the Pac-12 finals a year ago as a true freshman, finishing a 29-9 campaign with an appearance in the NCAA Championship. Lotito was 7-2 in duals and earned three falls for the season.
"Lotito trained here all summer and will be even better in his sophomore season," said Buckley. "His goal and our expectation is to be on the All-American podium this year."
Freshman Victor Trujillo, a two-time California state meet place winner from Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, likely will redshirt this year. "Trujillo is really good, has impressed the coaching staff in the fall and is good on the mat," Buckley said. Trujillo was a Greco Roman All-American at Fargo during the offseason.
This weight class is a tossup between redshirt freshmen Jacob Leon and Colt Shorts. Leon posted a 7-6 record in open tournaments a year ago while Shorts was 7-8.
"Leon has made a lot of gains, had a good redshirt season and beat the Division II national champion at the Roadrunner Open," said Buckley. "Shorts has put on a ton of weight. He was recruited at 125 last year, has grown taller, become thicker, had a great summer, has been in the weight room a lot and should now have good size as a 141 pounder. It's going to be a good wrestle-off between them."
Blake Kastl, who posted a 14-5 record in open tournaments, and Kyle Chené, who competed at 157 pounds a year ago, will challenge for the starting nod at 149.
Kastl won the San Francisco State Open and placed third in the Roadrunner Open and fourth in the California Collegiate Open. Chené was 18-17 as a junior.
"Kastl had a terrific redshirt year," said Buckley. "He's gotten stronger, he's more technically sound and he had a great summer. Chené has been really productive this fall and we're looking for him to make an impact in his senior year one weight class down from last year."
The weight class also includes Brandan Rocha, who was 12-14 with four pins a year ago. "Brandan returns for his senior year and has been a starter each of the the last three years," said Buckley. "He is incredibly strong and is always dangerous when he is on."
Redshirt freshman Maxamillian Schneider and sophomore Luke McDonald are the top two contenders at 157. Neither wrestler competed in a match a year ago.
"We're looking for big things from Max," said Buckley. "He has a unique style, is very athletic and we're expecting big things from him. McDonald had a great summer and fall. The last two years, he has been injured, but he is coming into his own."
Xavier Johnson is also in the mix and had made big improvements in the last year. He has a strong Greco-Roman background and is very strong for the weight class.
A pair of true freshmen -- Sohrab Movahedi and Travis Berridge -- are challenging each other in a tight race at 165 pounds.
Movahedi placed third in the California state finals last March while Berridge was a four-time state qualifier and three-time state placer in Florida.
"Woodman started for us last season and has improved greatly," said Buckley. "Paul is a great hard-working kid who is looking to make a jump this season. Weidemann makes the jump up from 157 last season. He battled injuries last year but had a productive summer and is healthy this season."
Dominic Kastl, the Pac-12 champion at 165 pounds in 2012, spent the entire 2012-13 season rehabilitating a lower back injury. Kastl was 14-5 overall as a sophomore, including a 6-0 mark in duals.
"Kastl spent a lot of time last spring and this summer preparing himself for his return to the mat this fall," said Buckley. "He is healthy and strong and is on a mission to get on the All-American podium."
Senior Sean Dougherty returns from a junior campaign which resulted in a 24-15 overall record, a 7-6 mark in duals, eight falls and a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12 finals.
"Dougherty has made huge gains in the two years since he transferred to Cal Poly," said Buckley. "He has become much stronger, worked on his technique and we expect him to be competing in Oklahoma City this March."
Justin Walker, a two-time California state finals placewinner, did not wrestle during his redshirt season at Cal Poly after undergoing knee surgery.
"Walker has made a full recovery, has added a lot of size to his frame and is hungry to make an impact this year," said Buckley.
Walker will be challenged by true freshman Nicolas Johnson, a fourth-place finisher in the California state finals last March. "Johnson has made huge gains and is getting better every day. We expect him to be a completely different wrestler come the second half of the season," said Buckley.
The heavyweight class features two more true freshmen as Spencer Empey and Tyler Hecht will battle for the starting nod. Empey was a three-time Nevada state champion and twice earned Nevada High School Wrestler of the Year honors while Hecht placed fourth in the California state finals a year ago.
"Empey had a No. 3 national ranking in high school and can become one of the nation's best heavyweights. We expect him to make a big impact this year," said Buckley. "Hecht is a really big kid that moves very well for his size."