It's do-or-die time for the ThunderWolves this Saturday when it travels to Adams State College in Alamosa for the 2010 RMAC/West Regional Championships, as the Pack hopes to qualify numerous wrestlers for nationals.
CSU-Pueblo, which started the season strong but has fallen off lately, at least in dual competitions, losing their final six duals. But the RMAC/West Regional Championships are all about individuals, and the Pack has several wrestlers capable of finishing in the top four in the conference (the top four wrestlers at each weight qualify for nationals).
Leading the ThunderWolves are their duo of 20-game winners, 197-pounder Tony Chavarria (So., Pueblo West, Colo.) and junior heavyweight Patrick Carey (Jr., Tempe, Ariz.).
Chavarria, who finished fifth in the RMAC last season, one place out of a national tournament bid, is considered a favorite to finish in the top four this season. In the latest NWCA Regional Rankings, Chavarria comes in at third. Most of the season, Chavarria was ranked in the top eight nationally at 197-pounds. A sophomore, Chavarria is 22-8 this season, setting a school record for most wins by a 197-pounder (which he set during his freshman season after a 20-20 record).
Carey, a mid-season transfer from the University of Northern Colorado, has been nothing short of dominant in a CSU-Pueblo singlet, going 15-2 as a ThunderWolf. In the fall, Carey wrestled in opens and tournaments at UNC, going 13-7, for a grand total of a 28-9 record this season. A junior, Carey enters the tournament ranked fourth in the region, though he has defeated the region's number-one ranked wrestler, Western State's Charlie Alexander, during a dual with the Mountaineers on Feb. 11.
Another strong possibility for a national bid could be earned by 149-pounder, Louie DeSantis (Sr., Escondido, Calif.). Though only 17-12 this season, DeSantis, the Pack's win leader last season with 27 wins, is 8-1 when wrestling at his preferred weight of 149 pounds. As a result, DeSantis is getting respect in the regional polls, coming in at second in the RMAC at 149's.
Other ThunderWolves considered to have a shot to qualify are Treven Delaune (Fr., Marrero, La.) at 125 pounds, Justin Grant (Jr., Winnemucca, Nev.) at 165 pounds and Adam Carey (RFr., Phoenix, Ariz.) at 184 pounds. Each are ranked in the top eight in the regional rankings coming in to the RMAC Championships.
CSU-Pueblo is seeking its first national tournament qualifiers since 2001, when the ThunderWolves won the RMAC/West Regional title and finished fifth in the nation before the program was disbanded.