Credit: Eyasu Betwos | Mustang News

Cal Poly wrestling has been ranked as the No. 20 team in the country, according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association. This is the first time the Mustangs have appeared in the NWCA poll since 2011.

“I think more so than anything it just proves that what we’re doing is working,” head coach Jon Sioredas said. “The guys that are putting in the extra time and working really hard are starting to get rewarded.”

Sioredas is in his sixth season at the helm for Cal Poly. During his tenure, the Mustangs have accomplished a national team ranking, sent multiple athletes to the NCAA Championships and have emerged as a notable west-coast program for wrestling.

Last season, Cal Poly sent two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. Sioredas said the success from last season’s team has flowed into their early success in 2022.

“It’s not just a couple guys, now it’s starting to spread to six or seven, then eight or nine,” Sioredas said.

Although Cal Poly has yet to wrestle in a dual match this season, as many as six different Mustangs have been individually ranked according to various ranking services. 

Leading the surge is redshirt senior Evan Wick, who is currently ranked No. 2 by InterMat at the 165- pound weight class.

“Obviously he’s got the credentials, but more importantly, just the sheer work ethic of coming in early and staying late,” Sioredas said about Wick. “He’s showing exactly what it looks like to be successful at the highest level.”

Wick transferred from Wisconsin to Cal Poly this year to fulfill his final year of collegiate eligibility. At Wisconsin, Wick was a two-time NCAA All-American and a three-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships. Additionally, Wick went 110-21 with 18 falls while at the Big Ten powerhouse.

“I feel like this is one of the best team environments I’ve been a part of,” Wick said. “The guys here are wrestling with each other rather than against each other.”

Wick is currently 9-0 this season after claiming titles at the Michigan State Open and the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

“A lot of the guys here knew my wrestling experience and credentials and they wanted to learn from me, but more importantly I came in here and wanted to learn from a lot of the guys on the team,” Wick said.

One of the wrestlers Wick credited learning from is redshirt sophomore Bernie Truax

“I trained a lot with Bernie last year over the break and training with him was an incredibly eye-opening experience,” Wick said.

Truax offers an incredible resume himself in his early collegiate wrestling career. Last season, Truax was one of the two Mustangs to qualify for the NCAA Championships, where he finished fourth in the 174-pound division.

“We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Truax said. “Sticking to the program, getting my workouts in and staying focused.”

Coming off his All-American season, Truax moved to the 184-pound level this season and has posted a 2-0 record so far. He is also ranked No. 6 in his weight class by InterMat.

In addition to Wick and Truax being nationally ranked, the Mustangs also feature the No. 9 174-pound wrestler in redshirt sophomore Adam Kemp, the No. 18 ranked 149-pound wrestler in redshirt freshman Legend Lamer, No. 29 redshirt sophomore Lawrence Saenz at 141 pounds and No. 30 redshirt freshman Antonio Lorenzo at 125 pounds.

Cal Poly will look to translate these nationally-ranked wrestlers into team success as they begin Pac-12 play on Monday, Jan. 24 against Arizona State. As of now, Cal Poly and the Sun Devils are the only Pac-12 teams currently ranked in the NWCA top-25.

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