Sheila Sobchik

Cal Poly wrestlers will grapple with each other at 7 p.m. today in Mott Gym at the annual Green and Gold intrasquad scrimmage to determine spots in the Mustangs’ lineup.

“We’re trying to find out who are our top wrestlers in each weight (class),” Cal Poly head coach John Azevedo said. He also considers the meet a good opportunity for the team to experience competition with a crowd present.

The Mustangs are excited to start the season, Azevedo said.

“The guys have set some goals and worked hard since last year,” he said.

A preseason collegiate wrestling poll released by Wrestling International Newsmagazine ranked the Mustangs at No. 17.

“It just means we’re getting looked at because of the kids we had before that have done well in the past,” Azevedo said of the ranking.

Cal Poly finished 23rd in the nation last year.

Three of Cal Poly’s wrestlers are ranked within the top 10 in the nation. They are Darrell Vasquez at fourth, Chad Mendes at sixth and Dave Roberts at 10th. Other notable wrestlers are Steve Esparza, Ryan Halsey and Matt Monteiro.

Cal Poly will be competing in December against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, ranked second and third, respectively, in the nation.

“It’d be fun for people to come out,” Azevedo said. “For people who haven’t seen wrestling I think it’d be a great opportunity for them to come out at see some of the best wrestling in the country.”

The scrimmage tonight precedes the Fullerton Open at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. Azevedo said he feels like preparation has gone well and the wrestlers are healthy and maintaining their weights.

“I think everyone is excited to get out there,” he said. “It’s always fun to get some competition.”

Swimming and diving team jumps back into competition for first time since Nov. 4

Also on Saturday, the Cal Poly swimming and diving team will be in Santa Barbara competing against UC Santa Barbara and Northridge.

UC Santa Barbara won the 2006 Big West Conference title in February and has the most votes for wining again this season in the preseason coaches’ poll.

“They are by far the best team in the conference,” Cal Poly head coach Tom Milich said. “We’re going to go in and see what we can do against them.”

For Milich, the meet Saturday is more about personal performance than winning.

“Our goal for the year is to make everyone better,” he said. “We are training harder than most of these kids have ever trained before.”

Milich was selected as head coach in July, but before that he received Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors as women’s head coach at Fresno State in 2004. His recent arrival at Cal Poly means the greater difficulty and number of practices are new for the team.

“They’ve done a remarkable job of adjusting to the training,” Milich said. “And because of that, they’re swimming a lot better than I anticipated they would be at this point.”

The men’s team did well in October at Pepperdine’s Malibu Invitational, taking first in every event. Both the women’s and men’s teams had competitors place third in multiple events at the Big West Shootout earlier this month.

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