Sam Houston Team has Pleasant Surprise
In their first year of competition, the Sam Houston State University wrestling team is already making a big name for itself.
The Bearkats, who compete in the Southwest Conference of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, traveled to Dallas for the Texas Collegiate State Championships last weekend where they earned two individual state titles and finished in third place overall.
"We weren't really expecting too much to be honest with you," SHSU Club Wrestling President E.J. Miranda said. "We came away with two state titles and actually finished in third place as a team. We've really been shocking people."
Colin Hartman won the championship in the 149 lb. weight class while Chris Renoud earned first place in the 157 lb. division. Evan Massey was runner-up in the 165 lb. division and Steve Noser took third in the 141 lb. division.
This Saturday, the Bearkats travel to Kansas State University for the Southwest Conference Regional Championships and a chance to advance to the NCWA National Championships in Lakeland, Fla. on March 13-15.
"We're psyched. We've been working hard and I've been running and drilling these guys to get ready for it," Miranda said. "We're really excited and we're really excited that Sam has offered to pay for it all. We're just on top of the world right now."
On Feb. 16, the Bearkats defeated the University of Texas - Austin in a Southwest Conference dual meet in Fort Worth, their first of the season.
Noser picked up the first win for the Bearkats' over the Longhorns' Grant Glenewinkel, followed by victories from Miranda, Hartman, Renaud and Massey.
Miranda earned Southwest Conference NCAA "Wrestler of the Week" following his win in the 149 lb. weight class.
"When you go into your first tournament, they don't think much of you," Miranda said. "When you come in for your first time, you just have to have fun and work together and coach each other."
The SWC is made up of 27 teams from Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas and includes schools such as Kansas State, LSU, Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, TCU and UT-Arlington.
The SHSU club wrestling team was created last season while this year marks the first season of intercollegiate competition for the Bearkats.