BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — As the Hoosiers get set for the Big Ten Championships this weekend at Penn State, their eyes are set on qualifying as many people as they can for the NCAA Championships.
Last season, Indiana had two wrestlers qualify, but this season, head coach Angel Escobedo believes Indiana has a chance to double that number, if not get more.
"One of the best tournaments in the country. Looking forward to it,' Escobedo said. "I think we are in a great situation to double the qualifiers we had last year."
The Hoosiers are led by Donnell Washington, who has a 6-2 record on the season. Washington goes into the Big Ten Championships pre-seeded fifth at 174 lbs.
"I never really thought that I would have this opportunity," Washington said. "Now that I'm actually here, one just going to make sure I have fun, and two I'm just going to give it my all."
Along with Washington, Escobedo believes Nick South and Graham Rooks are likely to be considered as at-large bids. Then the Hoosiers will turn to Nick Willham, Cayden Rooks, Jacob Moran, Santos Cantu and others to pick up a couple wins so they can find themselves qualifying as well.
"Looking forward to see what those guys can do," Escobedo said.
Five of Indiana's 10 wrestlers this weekend will be competing in the Big Ten Championships for the first time in their careers.
The Hoosiers finished the regular season 2-6, picking up wins over No. 24 Northwestern and Maryland. Indiana's two wins doubled the total number of victories from a season ago as well.
Indiana has a young team, combining a total of 23 freshmen and sophomores on this year's roster.
The last time the Hoosiers took the mat was on Feb. 22 against Purdue, so Indiana has had a good amount of time to rest up and get ready for the Big Ten Championships.
"Just realizing the work has been done, and now it's time to peak," Escobedo said. "Taking it one match at a time and realizing that we're ready to peak. Believing in yourself, your training and your conditioning. We're really looking for them to be fresh going into the weekend."
125: Jacob Moran
133: Kyle Luigs
141: Cayden Rooks
149: #14 Graham Rooks
157: Luke Baughman
165: #22 Nick South
174: #6 Donnell Washington
184: Santos Cantu
197: #29 Nick Willham
285: Rudy Streck
Big Ten Championships
Saturday March 6, 2021
Session I: 10:00 AM ET (First Round, Quarterfinals)
Session II: 7:30 PM ET (Semifinals, Wrestlebacks)
Sunday March 7, 2021
Session III: 12:00 PM ET (Consolation Semifinals, 7th place matches)
Session IV: 4:00 PM ET (1st, 3rd, 5th place matches)
University Park, Pa. | Bryce Jordan Center
Video: BTN Plus
Live Stats: Track Wrestling