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SAU Wrestling Looking to be “Relentless”

Year three of the St. Ambrose wrestling program kicked off at the end of October. The Bees entered with a pair of wrestlers ranked in the top 25 at their individual weight. 

Jayden Terronez opens the season ranked 15 at 174 pounds. Terronez is the lone returning national tournament qualifier, and will look to make it his third trip to nationals in three years. The junior so far has started his year 12-6, including a 5th place finish at the Grand View Open, dropping three matches to a pair of division one wrestlers and fourth ranked Alex Reynolds from Grand View.

Sophomore Jeremiah Morris said he was most impressed with the improvements that Terronez made during the off-season.

“He busts his ass every day at practice and he’s doing the little things to perfect his craft. It’s fun to watch him wrestle and he’s just a great leader,” said Morris.

Dylan Meiners was also pre-season ranked at 19 at 184 pounds. Meiners fell just shy of qualifying for the national tournament last year, placing fourth at the Heart of America conference tournament. 

The Bees off-season focus was a simple one: get stronger and better conditioned. Junior Riley Woods talked about the team wanting to have an attacking mindset heading into the 2023-24 season. 

“Biggest focus was being ready to step out on the mat and continue to be relentless and wrestle through all seven minutes of the match. Soon as the whistle blows make sure the other guy feels your presence,” Woods explained.

Woods competed last year for the Bees at 141 pounds, but jumped up to weight classes to fill the 157 pound spot in the lineup. Woods said it was a concerted effort to add some muscle during the off-season. 

“My thought process was to get as far away from 141 as possible. I was looking to bulk up and 157 was where I ended up,” commented Woods.

Woods praised two true freshmen as people to keep your eye on this season. Reese Finch, a freshman out of Taylor Ridge, Illinois has been the Bees go to 149 pounder thus far in the season, posting a 5-11 record.

The other freshman mentioned by Woods was 141 pounder from Boise, Idaho, Guiseppe Guerra. Guerra has had a stellar start to the season, posting a 15-4 record as the Bees goto 141 pounder, including a third place finish at the Grand View Open in the freshman/sophomore bracket. 

In his move from high school to college, Guerra noted the raised level of competition, as well as how difficult each and every match is. 

“The biggest adjustment is that everyone is dangerous and the sport is way more demanding. These wrestlers, even if they aren’t technically sound, are still strong and well conditioned. You rarely have an easy match,” Guerra described.

The Bees carry a 5-8 dual record as they entered into the month of December. The Bees head to Reno, Nevada next to compete in the Reno Tournament of Champions, a dual and individual tournament, before getting a few weeks off for the holidays. The Bees will look to build experience leading up to the conference tournament in February, and will look for their first All-American since the team re-formed.