SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Armed with nine wrestlers who competed in more than half of Cal Poly's dual meets a year ago and 13 returning lettermen in all, the Mustangs seek to continue the improvement of the program under second-year head coach Jon Sioredas.
"We are excited to see where we stand after a hard offseason of training," said Sioredas. "This year's team has a chip on its shoulder and something to prove and we love that mentality."
Heading the list of returnees is senior 141-pounder Colton Schilling, a third-place finisher at the Pac-12 Championship and a national qualifier for the first time. A fifth-year senior, Schilling posted a 13-11 record a year ago and enters his final season as a Mustang with a 59-39 career mark.
"His leadership will be important to our team's overall progress this season," said Sioredas.
Other top returnees for the Mustangs include 285-pounder Spencer Empey (17-16 a year ago, including an 8-8 mark in duals), 197-pounder Tom Lane (14-14 last season) and 184-pounder Sohrab Movahedi (14-5 overall, 4-1 in duals a year ago).
"Every weight class has shown improvement over the course of the last eight months," said Sioredas. "We are leaning on our senior leadership to help continue the process of improvement."
The roster also includes six wrestlers who were redshirts a year ago and nine newcomers. Sioredas said all eight first-year freshmen on the roster will redshirt this year.
The 2017-18 season for Cal Poly opens Nov. 19 at the Roadrunner Open hosted by CSU Bakersfield at the Icardo Center on campus.
Cal Poly won six dual meets last season, the most in five years, including an upset of No. 27 Indiana.
Last spring, the wrestling team earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award for posting an Academic Progress Rate score in the top 10 percent of its sport nationwide.
Though the 2017-18 Cal Poly wrestling schedule includes just three home matches, the Mustangs will be competing in four other events in the state of California.
Cal Poly's home matches will be against Northwestern on Dec. 15 and Pac-12 Conference duals against Stanford on Jan. 26 and Arizona State on Feb. 11.
"We have a heavy road schedule this year, but we will be in the state of California for seven events," said Sioredas.
The match against Stanford highlights Cal Poly's Alumni and Supporter Weekend, which also includes the Second Annual Crab Feed Benefit on Jan. 27, the day following the dual meet.
"We will also attend two prominent tournaments, the Las Vegas Invitational and the Midlands, to help prepare us for the NCAA tournament," Sioredas added.
Cal Poly also will compete in the Roadrunner Open inside CSU Bakersfield's Icardo Center on Nov. 19 and in dual meets at Fresno State on Jan. 4, against Penn at Stanford on Jan. 7 and at CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 31.
Oregon State will host the Pac-12 Championship on Feb. 25, with the NCAA Division I National Championship slated for March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Sioredas takes a weight-class-by-weight-class look at the 2017-18 Mustangs:
"Yoshito Funakoshi will be descending down to 125 pounds from 133 pounds. He will be entering his redshirt junior year and is beginning to break through with his training over the course of the spring, summer and preseason.
"Brandon Staley, a redshirt sophomore, will also see much mat time at this weight this season. Staley finished fifth in the Pac-12 tournament last season."
"Ty Schilling will also be descending down, from 141 pounds to 133 pounds. Ty will be a redshirt sophomore this season and looks to make strides at a weight class below."
"Colton Schilling, a redshirt senior, is a returning NCAA qualifier and finished third at the Pac-12 tournament last year to punch his ticket to the NCAA tournament."
"Joshy Cortez will be entering his true junior year and will again have another opportunity at 149 pounds as he looks to improve on his fourth-place Pac-12 finish a year ago."
"Redshirt freshmen Jett Moy will be the only freshman to start the season in the lineup. He was a California state finalist two years ago and competed in open tournaments last year during his redshirt campaign, compiling a 6-5 record and placed first at the Menlo Open."
"Luke Wilson will enter his redshirt senior campaign this year. After three years of injuries, Wilson competed in the green and gold for the first-time last season, winning three matches by fall."
"Matt Wilhelm battled injuries last year after coming off a 14-3 redshirt year. He looks to make his mark in his redshirt sophomore year this season."
"Sohrab Movahedi, a redshirt senior coming off a 14-5 season, winning his final seven matches of the year, will be another senior that we will rely heavily on for leadership this year."
"Redshirt sophomore Tom Lane has filled into a full 197-pounder after a midseason weight change last year. He will look to improve on his fifth-place Pac-12 finish a year ago."
"Spencer Empey, another one of our fifth-year seniors, has another opportunity to accomplish his goals this year at heavyweight."