PUEBLO, Colo. – The Colorado State University-Pueblo wrestling team begins the 2014-15 campaign at the DoubleTree Open, hosted by Colorado Mesa University, Saturday, Nov. 8. The all day event is set to take place at Brownson Arena in Grand Junction, Colo.
The CSU-Pueblo wrestling team enters its seventh season since returning to Pack Athletics as an intercollegiate sport. The ThunderWolves are coming off two straight seasons of finishing in the top 25 nationally and look to build on that in 2014-15.
"I expect the kids to wrestle as hard as they possibly can, have a never-quit attitude, wrestle with intensity, be hungry and win," said seventh-year head coach Dax Charles.
The Pack were pegged to finish sixth in the Preseason Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coaches Poll after they concluded the 2013-14 season with a 4-8 record and a 2-4 mark in conference play.
The ThunderWolves will look to replace a pair of graduating NCAA Division II All-Americans in Ray Hall and Trevor Grant, who led the team to a fifth place finish at the 2013 NCAA West Region/RMAC Championships and a second straight top-25 finish (23rd) at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
"We are returning five starters, which includes a national qualifier," Charles said. "We are excited to see our new kids step in and fill some key weight classes."
One of its five starters from that squad is senior heavyweight Niko Bogojevic (Superior, Wis.), who was named Preseason All-RMAC. The senior wrestled his way to a 14-11 record and a fourth-place finish at the RMAC Championships last season. He is also a 2013 National Qualifier.
The Pack will also be strong at their lower weight classes, as brothers Sam Hughes (So., 125, Bolivar, Mo.) and Eric Hughes (Sr., 133, Bolivar, Mo.) have impressed the coaching staff early. Also, Tim Urenda (Jr., 141, Pueblo, Colo.) has climbed two weight classes to 141 and will be a leader on the mat for the Pack.
"Our No. 1 goal is to win the RMAC Championships here at home," Charles said. "We also want to get as many athletes to the national tournament as possible."
The ThunderWolves open their home season with a dual meet versus Western Wyoming Community College Nov. 14. The event will be held at the Pueblo County High School beginning at 6 p.m. In addition to five dual meets, CSU-Pueblo also hosts the 2015 NCAA Division II West Regionals/RMAC Championships, Feb. 27-28.
As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.