Pin it to win it
Sophomore Matthew Rieckhoff said he did not do especially well at last year’s Augsburg Open. But this year would be a different story, and he entered the Open on Nov. 19 filled with confidence.
“I just went into it with an open mind,” Rieckhoff said.
He went on to win the most points of the Blugolds with 10 points for UW-Eau Claire during the Auggie-Brute-Adidas Open hosted by Augsburg College (Minn.). Rieckhoff said he felt all the Eau Claire wrestlers played well.
Rieckhoff said the team shared his confidence.
“We’re definitely more prepared this year,” he said, referencing that last year’s team was younger and did not have as much experience as it does now.
Rieckhoff said he entered the first match with a ready-to-go attitude, and had his opponent down in four seconds. His second match progressed at a slower pace, and he and his opponent were tied as he entered the third period. However, after a take-down with 20 seconds left, he broke the tie and advanced to the semifinal round of the gold level 184 weight class, where he was out-wrestled.
Rieckhoff said that his opponent, who was ranked second in the nation, turned him to his back a few times.
“That’s definitely an area that I could put some work in,” Rieckhoff said, who ended the Open in fourth place.
Freshman Brandon Stradel, who earned the next highest point value for the Blugolds with 6 points for Eau Claire, also was optimistic, especially because he was in a lower-weight class for the Open.
“It was kind of hard,” Stradel said.
Stradel lost his first match to a wrestler from Augsburg College (Minn.) in the bronze 149 weight division, and he attributed it to simple mistakes that he thinks cost him the match. Stradel then entered the consolation bracket, winning the second match.
“I just wrestled a lot smarter in the second match,” he said, adding that he thinks the first match of the day is always rusty. Stradel wrestled his way to the consolation bracket semifinals.
Rieckhoff said this was the best he has seen any of the Blugolds wrestle compared to last season.
“We just came out a lot tougher,” he said. “I think we’re working really hard and that’s definitely showing on the mats.”
The Blugolds will head to UW-La Crosse for the Holiday Inn Express Duals on Dec. 3.