Fresno State freshman wrestler heavyweight AJ Nevills. (Fresno State athletics)

‘Dogs split first two duals since 2006

Fresno State wrestling returned to the mat Saturday for the first time since 2006 with a 35-12 win over the San Francisco State Gators and a loss to the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers 19-17. Both duals took place at San Francisco University.

“It was a great first day, and it is nice to get the season rolling,” head coach Troy Steiner said in a news release. “We have a gauge of where we are at now, and it is time to get back to work for Illinois this week, but we are excited to get going.”

The Bulldogs pulled out to a 35-0 lead over SFSU by winning the first eight matches. Freshman Chris De Loza wrestled in the program’s first dual since reinstatement, winning the 141-pound weight class.

Fresno State held a 10-3 lead against Nebraska-Kearney, but lost three straight matches which gave the Lopers the lead. Freshman heavyweight AJ Nevills responded with a takedown of Kevin Barrett to win the match and tie the dual at 13-13.

The ‘Dogs lost the lead after forfeiting the 125-pound match because they did not have an eligible wrestler, giving the Lopers a 19-13 lead which proved to be insurmountable.

The ‘Dogs will return to Fresno on Friday for the first home match of the season. Fresno State faces Illinois (0-1) at 7 p.m.