Wrestling Starts 2-2 in Delayed Season 


Austin West

After having their season delayed slightly, the Buena Vista wrestling team has finally made their way back onto the mat. Under normal circumstances, the wrestling season would begin in early November, such as last season when the Beavers began their season with a dual against the Loras College Duhawks. This season, however, with the COVID-19 pandemic, wrestling was delayed into the spring semester to join the other eleven athletic teams competing at BV.  

“[It] presented some challenges early on but we were fortunate to be able to train consistently for the most part,” says wrestling Head Coach Mark Rial. “We just tried to control what we could control whether if we agreed with it or not.  We turned it into a positive experience of being able to spend more time working on things to improve on in practice. 

Despite the delayed season, the Beaver wrestlers were able to get off to a hot start as they travelled to Lincoln, Nebraska on January 23rd, to face off in a tri-dual against the Simpson College Storm and the home Nebraska Wesleyan University Prairie Wolves. In the first dual of the night, the Storm began rolling in fast with a 15-7 before the Beavers were able to turn the tide and pull ahead for the 22-19 dual win. BV would earn two pins in the dual from sophomore Diego Escarcega and senior Don Phillips II. 

Following the win over Simpson, came the dual against the hometown Prairie Wolves. The Beavers again would trail early, as Nebraska Wesleyan would lead 17-8, but, once again, BV begins to fight back from behind. The team would rally with four pins from sophomores, Garrett Bruce, Diego Escarcega, and Floyd Miller and senior Diego Huerta, and a technical fall from senior Don Phillips II, while not allowing another Prairie Wolf win, for the second comeback dual win of the night, 38-17. The second big story out of the night was the pin by senior Diego Huerta, as this is his first year on the team and the pin would be his first career victory.  

It was a special moment for Diego. “I am thankful to God for getting the chance to go out there and show the results of my hard work,” Diego said, “After four long years of not wrestling, to go out there and get my hand raised was something I’m glad I got to experience again.” 

Buena Vista would then go on to host their own tri-dual in Siebens Fieldhouse on the BV campus as the Beavers faced off against the Luther College Norse and the #9 ranked, and last year’s American Rivers Conference champs, Loras College Duhawks 

Coach Mark Rial talked on what he expected with the duals at home, “We knew coming into our home event that it was going to be challenging.  Our goal was to continue fighting and hustling the whole time and for the most part we did. 

First, would be the dual against the ranked Duhawks as only one BV wrestler, sophomore Garrett Bruce, would be able to earn a win after trailing 5-2 but finishing with an 8-6 decision over his opponent. BVU falls 51-2 to #9 ranked Loras, who would pick up eight total falls in the dual. As for the dual against the Luther Norse, the teams were neck and neck in scoring as Luther led 17-13 midway through. That is until, the Norse were able to pick up back-to-back wins and keep their momentum rolling, defeating the Beavers 34-13. The Beavers now sit at a season record of 2-2, which is also the record in ARC play. 

In duals momentum plays a role and it kind of snow balled on us against Loras who is an experienced and established team.  The Luther dual was very competitive even though the score might not reflect that.  We had a couple matches that could have gone either way and they didn’t. Overall, we saw a lot of positives and a lot of fight from our team,” says Rial, looking back. 

Coach Rial also expressed his optimism looking towards the rest of the season, “Our plan for the rest of the season is to continue to get better every day.  The schedule doesn’t get any easier, but we will have opportunities and we are grateful for that! 

Diego Huerta also expressed his optimism with the current season, “I am proud of how far we have come; we have really grown a lot these past couple of months. Definitely still plenty of work to do but I am excited to see where it goes.” 

The Beavers will compete again on February 6th, at 1 pm, when they travel to Waverly, Iowa. They will face off in another triangular dual against the Central College Dutch and the Waverly-based Wartburg College Knights.