This past Thursday, November 30th, Augustana’s wrestling team faced off against Central and Simpson. They fell to the Dutch 12-28, while defeating the Storm 27-17.
Following the loss to Central, Coach Tony Willaert had positive things to say about his team.
“We had a few matches that were very competitive. Our expectations are always to win but we had our weaknesses exposed and now we are improving them. Central is a very tough team so we’ve seen what our guys are capable of at the highest level.”
Senior Nicholas Torres also had a positive outlook on the match, even though he came up short in his individual match.
“I fought till the end and even though I didn’t win, I am proud of the relentlessness of my attacks, and constant motion.”
Positive outlooks by both Nicholas Torres and Coach Willaert show the type of attitude the Augustana wrestling team has which goes into their recent success.
Augustana is coming off a season where they finished 17th in the nation, the highest finish for them since 1995. This sets high expectations going into this year, where they started the year ranked 12th in the nation.
While expectations as high as these might bother some teams, Nick Torres knows like the rest of the Augustana team, he is ready for the challenge.
“We started the season off ranked 12th in the nation, which can be a daunting expectation to live up to but I know that we have what it takes. We have all of the potential needed to be one of the very best in the nation, we just need to refine a couple little things.”
Torres also had high praise for Coach Willaert.
“Our new coach Tony [Willaert] has his head on straight and knows what he is doing. As a team, we trust his judgment and will do what he believes is best for us. Overall, I’m excited to see what lies ahead for the team.”
Coach Willaert also had good things to say about the expectations for them as a team.
“Our team is really starting to take shape. With the weight descent rules of the NCAA, a few of our guys were finally able to get to their competition weights and see a tough opponent. We are very optimistic going into the second half of the year. Expectations are high!”
He also put an emphasis on how winning is important, but also is having fun and working hard whether it’s wrestling or other facets of life.
“We are really focusing on enjoying the battles. No one looks back on the things that came easily to them with pride. It’s always the toughest obstacles that people are most proud of, whether they overcame them or not. We want all of our guys to take that mentality into every match and every aspect of their lives.”