BOISE, Idaho After a successful weekend at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa the Boise State wrestling team has moved up to No. 10 in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Team Rankings. The Broncos finished seventh at the National Duals with a 3-2 record. Their only losses came against No. 3 Iowa State, 19-15, and No. 5 Ohio State, 21-12.
“It was good to see that type of competition because we’re definitely going to see it again at [the NCAA tournament],” Boise State Head Coach Greg Randall said. “It prepared our guys mentally for how hard they actually have to wrestle to get a victory.”
Boise State returns home with a 10-3 dual record this season, 1-0 in Pac-10 competition. The Broncos now turn their attention to preparing for the heart of their Pac-10 schedule, which will kick-off with Cal State-Bakersfield on Sunday (Jan. 18) at 2 p.m at Taco Bell Arena. The dual will be part of this year’s Beauty and the Best competition. During the dual, the Broncos will wrestle in conjunction with the Boise State gymnastics team, which will compete simultaneously in an intrasquad exhibition.
Bakersfield travels to Boise with a 7-3 dual record this season (4-0 Pac-10) and is currently riding a six dual winning streak. Two of the three losses came against nationally ranked opponents; No. 11 Oklahoma, 12-26, and No. 12 Missouri, 14-25. The Roadrunners are led by three wrestlers currently ranked in the nation’s top-25 for their respective weight classes Brandon Zoetewey (125-pounds), Brandon Halsey (197) and Mitch Monteiro (285).
Zoetewey enters this weekend ranked No. 15 with a 15-5 overall record, 4-0 in duals. He hasn’t wrestled much for the Roadrunners as of late, however, as Frank Lomas competed in the last seven duals for Bakersfield. Zoetewey finished third at last year’s Pac-10 tournament.
Halsey was voted the No. 8 ranked wrestler at 197-pounds this week. He is 12-1 this season, 2-1 in duals. Halsey has split time in the Roadrunner starting line-up with Riley Orozco (16-7) and Ernesto Ancona (9-10) all season long. Monteiro, who was the 2008 Pac-10 runner-up, is currently ranked No. 9 with an 18-6 record.
“One thing about Bakersfield, they always come to wrestle,” Randall said. “They always compete hard. They’re always in really good shape. It’s important for us to win just because when we go to the Pac-10 [tournament], we need to be ranked ahead of those guys.”
Boise State will be led through its conference schedule by a talented line-up that features six wrestlers ranked in the top 25, four of which are ranked in the top 10. After each suffering their first dual losses of the season last weekend, Andrew Hochstrasser (133) and Kirk Smith (184) are both ranked No. 4 nationally this week.
Hochstrasser is 24-2 overall this season and has recorded five falls and eight major decisions. Smith is 25-1 this season after a hard fought loss, 3-2, to Ohio State’s Mike Pucillo, who is the defending national champion at 184-pounds and currently ranked No. 2.
Boise State sophomore Brent Chriswell (197) is the third highest ranked Bronco at No. 5. Despite seeing his first action of the season at the National Duals, Chriswell is the defending 184-pound Pac-10 Champion and is 3-1 in duals this season. Sophomore Adam Hall (157) is the final Boise State wrestler ranked in the top 10. He was voted No. 6 for his weight class this week after compiling a 23-3 record this season (11-1 dual).
Rounding out the group of nationally ranked Broncos is freshman Jason Chamberlain (149), who is ranked No. 17 this week. Chamberlain is 11-6 this season with a 4-5 dual record. Junior Nate Lee enters the weekend ranked No. 15 at 174-pounds with an 8-3 record (6-1 dual).
Boise State has seven conference duals left on its schedule, which includes five consecutive home duals. The Broncos will host Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 23), Cal Poly (Jan. 24), UC Davis (Feb. 7) and Stanford (Feb. 8).