In front of 4,175 fans, the Bulldogs’ wrestling team won their first home dual of the season Thursday night against Cal Poly, 29-13.
“We are starting to see adjustments and people are toughing it out in tough situations. That is what I like to see and I have been seeing that little progress all along and now it gets to the point where we get to get a ‘W’ from it,” head coach Troy Steiner said.
The night started with Sean Williams at 125 pounds. The redshirt senior put the ‘Dogs on the board with a 7-5 win over Yoshi Funakoshi.
Freshman Trevor Williams kept the momentum going at 133 pounds with a takedown in the third period to extend the ‘Dogs lead to 6-0.
At 141 pounds, Cal Poly’s Colton Schilling put the Mustangs on the board with a fall over freshman Chris De Loza to tie the dual, 6-6.
Sophomore Khristian Olivas regained the ‘Dogs lead at 149 pounds after a third period escape against Joshy Cortez.
“Being stingy and going out there with a dominant attitude and taking it to my opponent, capitalizing in every situation and trying to score as much points as I possibly can. I know tonight was a lower score match, but I stayed composed in the match and weathered it out and got the win,” Olivas said regarding his success thus far.
Sophomore Greg Gaxiola also came out victorious at 157 pounds. With a 10-2 lead to start the third period and four takedowns, Gaxiola scored a season-high 20 points in his fifth major decision win of the season against Jett Moy to give the ‘Dogs a 13-6 edge.
After intermission, sophomore Isaiah Hokit recorded a season-high 23 points after a technical fall over Ryan Farina to put Fresno State up 17-6.
The ‘Dogs lost the 174 and 184 match to Cal Poly’s Matt Wilhelm and Sohran Movahedi after a major decision and decision, cutting Fresno State’s lead down to 4.
Sophomore Josh Hokit made his Fresno State wrestling debut after playing for the Fresno State football team for the past two seasons.
“We really didn’t know if he was going to be on the mat for us tonight or not. As things progressed and we went through training after he got back from the Bowl Game, we saw that his training was going well. He had a weight adjustment to get his weight down a little bit. It just came down to him wanting to be down there in front of his home crowd tonight. I left it up to him whether he wanted to jump out there tonight or not and I knew that he wasn’t going to say no,” Steiner said.
At 197 pounds, Hokit, a former Clovis High wrestler and state champion in 2016, was quick to return to his wrestling moves as he recorded a fall over Cal Poly’s Ryan Anderson.
“I definitely felt rusty. It didn’t last too long and I didn’t get to wrestle those last few minutes, but that definitely would’ve challenged me if it had,” Hokit said.
To end the night at heavyweight AJ Nevills secured the Bulldog’s 29-13 win with a fall over Spencer Empey. This was the sophomore’s sixth fall of the season.
“I am happy for them,” Steiner said. “They have been putting in a lot of work and it is neat to see them fight through some tough situations and come out with the win.”
Fresno State will be on the road next weekend to compete in the Virginia Duals in Hampton, Virginia on Jan 12-13.