After an early season slump, Old Dominion University wrestling (8-8) is gaining momentum by putting together a string of victories and currently sitting at third place in the WAC.
“It was a rough first part of the season. I think we’re still adjusting to the tough schedule we have. Everyone is starting to come together as a team, and individually, when you face tough schools like this we are going to have to grind some victories out,” Chris Mecate said.
Mecate is the fourth ranked wrestler in the 141 weight division. He has quickly made an impact on this program, posting a 58-16 career record in less than 2 seasons. He won his match in the 22-15 victory against Ohio.
“It was a good win, it was good to go there and wrestle like we did. It was a rowdy hostile crowd, one of the worst I’ve seen, but that’s just the start we got two top 10 teams coming up,” he said.
The team’s success is coming as a unit and from an individual standpoint as well, Senior Billy Curling, and sophomore Alexander Richardson are both on impressive streaks on the mat. Curling has won eight of his last nine, while Richardson has won 10 matches in a row.
Richardson’s continued success is being recognized as he was last week’s MEAC Wrestler of the Week in light of last week’s performance.
“It’s great for him. He’s been wrestling hard and he has gotten the best of a lot of guys who are ranked some being in the top ten rankings,” head coach Steve Martinsaid .
While the individual awards are well deserved, the focus remains upcoming matchups and the squad’s success as a whole.
“He really earned that award he has been working at it and has been knocking guys off. Stuff like that is also great for recruiting it helps put us on the map. But at the same time you have to take accolades in stride and take it for what it’s worth,” Mecate said.
The Monarchs are looking forward to a big matchup against Northern Iowa who is the fifth ranked team in the country. The matchup with the panthers will mark the twelfth time this season the Monarchs have faced a team who has been in the top 25 this season.
“It’s a big one for us. The mindset is simple, we are there to win and we believe we will. We have a good streak going and we want to keep it up,” Martin said.
With four straight wins the team is more confident in the final stretch of the season
“Everyone is realizing what is ahead of us won’t be easy I think guys are really starting to be more aggressive and wrestle tougher during the heart of our schedule. Morale is definitely good and we are staying positive,” Mecate said.
By Matt O’Brien