Lauren Rabaino

The Cal Poly wrestling team will take the mat for the final home dual of the season when they meet Pac-10 rival Cal State Fullerton at 6:30 tonight in Mott Gym.

The Mustangs began their conference schedule dropping a 24-10 decision to Cal State Bakersfield.

Cal Poly head coach John Azevedo said that the conference schedule is filled with difficult matches no matter who the Mustangs face.

“There’s a lot of parody in the Pac-10,” Azevedo said. “It’s a tough conference and it’s not going to get any easier.”

The Titans are coming off team wins over Air Force and San Francisco on Sunday.

“Fullerton is a solid team,” Azevedo added. “We’re just keeping our guys positive to go out and wrestle their best.”

The Mustangs wrestled a competitive non-conference schedule that included duals with Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Azevedo said the experience will help his wrestlers get better.

“When you keep losing and some of our guys are losing (to the top guys) a lot, it’s hard to keep them bouncing back,” he said. “We hope it builds some confidence in that they’ve competed against the best in the country and have been close at times.”

The Mustangs won three individual matches against Bakersfield, including wins by Filip Novachkov (141 pounds), Eric Maldonado (149 pounds) and Chase Pami (157 pounds).

Novachkov (13-6 overall, 17th at 141 pounds) and Pami (14-6, 9th at 157) represent the Mustangs ranked in the Top 25 by the Amateur Wrestling News.

Injuries have forced Azevedo to reshuffle some of the weight classes, but he said that the experience should help his team in the long run.

“We have some weights where we’re changing up a little bit,” Azevedo said. “But some of it’s been because of injuries. There have been a couple weights where we have tried other guys and see how they do under the lights. Sometimes the guys can’t beat their opponents in a wrestle-off, but under the lights they perform better.”

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