The Indiana wrestling team reported for its first round of meetings for the 2005-06 season today, while its official season does not begin until November. The Hoosiers will kickoff the year traveling to Columbia, Mo., for the Missouri Open on Nov. 20.
IU's first day of practice this year will be on Sept. 12, while the Hoosiers also will be training and practicing two hours prior to every home football game for the duration of the preseason.
"We are anxious for the season to begin," head coach Duane Goldman said. "We are coming off a great year at both the NCAA and Big Ten Championships, and look to build on that success."
Goldman and the IU coaching staff welcomes six newcomers in Matt Coughlin (Evansville, Ind./Mater Dei), Angel Escobedo (Griffith, Ind./Griffith), Maurice Gunn (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North), Scott Kelley (Carmel, Ind./Carmel), Seth Parker (Lafayette, Ind./Harrison) and Trevor Perry (Davison, Mich.) to an already seasoned Hoosier roster. Goldman's 2005-06 recruiting class comes in highly regarded, ranking in the top 10 by InterMat Wrestling's Top-25 recruiting class rankings.
"It will be good to finally have some interaction and coaching time with the recruits," Goldman said. "Prior to them enrolling, we were only able to talk to them from the stands, but now we can actually get them on the mat and see how they will be able to adjust to the collegiate arena. We are ready to see how the guys will match up against the competition."
Goldman also welcomes back the 2005 National Champion in the 125-pound division, senior Joe Dubuque, and sophomore Brandon Becker, who finished fifth in the postseason championship last season. Both Hoosiers were named All-Americans in 2005.
Along with IU's All-Americans, juniors Isaac Knable, Brady Richardson and sophomore Max Dean round out the talented roster. Each grappler returns after qualifying for the NCAA Championship a year ago.
"We have a good corps of guys coming back, " Goldman said. "They are entering the season knowing the Big Ten will be strong and tough. We have planned a good mix of teams for our pre-conference dual meets, giving our fans a good chance to see some quality matches before we begin our league schedule."
The Hoosiers finished ninth in last year's NCAA championship and tied for fifth at the Big Ten Championship. IU's ninth-place finish at NCAAs, while its fifth-place effort ties Goldman's best performance in the Big Ten since taking the reigns of the program in 1992.
"We have a good core of talent returning and a top recruiting class," Goldman said. "It will be an exciting year for the program and the fans."