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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    2021-22 College Preview: Indiana

    Indiana's NCAA Qualifier Donnell Washington (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)


    Indiana Hoosiers



    The Indiana wrestling program enters Year Four under Angel Escobedo, and there are strong signs that the Hoosiers are trending in the right direction ahead of the '21-22 season.

    Four wrestlers were included in InterMat's preseason rankings: Brock Hudkins (125), Cayden Rooks (141), Graham Rooks (149) and Donnell Washington (174).

    Two of his wrestlers garnered some international experience, in Washington, a Junior world-teamer, and Santos Cantu, and silver-medalist at the Junior Pan-American Championships.

    What's in store for Year Four? Perhaps another step forward for Indiana.

    TOP RETURNERS


    There's Hudkins, the Rooks brothers, Washington, and Cantu (184), but also Big Ten Championship participants Jacob Moran (125), Luke Baughman (157), Nick South (165), Nick Willham (197), and Rudy Streck (285). Both Graham Rooks and Washington took sixth at the 2021 Big Ten tournament, scoring 17.5 of Indiana's 22 total points.

    Additionally, Hudkins was a two-time NCAA qualifier for Northern Illinois before transferring to Indiana, and even reached the bloodround in 2017. There's also Paul Konrath, a one-time Badger wrestler who joined Indiana originally at 133 but is now listed at 141.

    KEY DEPARTURES


    Kyle Luigs is the lone notable wrestler not back this season. Luigs was Indiana's 133-pounder for last year's Big Ten Championships. He knocked off Michigan's Jack Medley, 6-0, in the opening round before dropping three bouts in a row.

    Otherwise, all the Hoosiers are back again.

    NEWCOMERS



    Weird but true: Indiana has 17 true freshmen on the roster, in terms of eligibility, and 18 others spread across every other eligibility class. There are a lot of newcomers on the roster, but many will likely redshirt.

    But two that are expected to make an immediate impact are Kasper McIntosh and Garrett Hoffman.

    McIntosh spent his first three collegiate seasons at Minnesota before transferring back home. A graduate of Portage High School, McIntosh went 23-17 in two seasons for the Gophers and is expected to contend for the starting spot at 157 this year.

    Hoffman joins the program as a graduate student. He was an NCAA qualifier for Bucknell in 2017, and is 29-22 overall. He actually joined the program ahead of the 2021 season, but did not compete due to an injury. He will be Indiana's starter at 197.

    WRESTLER TO WATCH


    Donnell Washington, another Portage graduate, has become one of the many wrestlers to watch for the Hoosiers this season. After a strong redshirt season in '19-20, he took sixth at the Big Ten Championships and was the 9-seed at the NCAA Championships in 2021 at 174 pounds. He went 1-2, but both losses came to All-Americans.

    Washington followed that by winning the UWW Junior men's freestyle world team trials, outscoring his seven opponents 68-9 at 79-kg and earning a spot on the Junior world team. He also took fourth at the U23 national championships at the same weight. We'll see if that freestyle success translates to winter victories for Washington this season.


    POTENTIAL LINEUP


    125: Brock Hudkins (Sr)
    133: Jacob Moran (So)Alec Freeman (Fr)
    141: Cayden Rooks (Jr)/ Paul Konrath (Sr)
    149: Graham Rooks (Jr)
    157: Kasper McIntosh (Jr)/Luke Baughman (Jr)
    165: Nick South (Jr)/ Diego Lemley (Sr)/Sammy Cokeley (Sr)
    174: Donnell Washington (Jr)
    184: Santos Cantu (So)
    197: Garrett Hoffman (Sr)/Nick Willham (Jr)
    285: Brandon Streck (Sr)/Jacob Bullock (Jr)

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