First victory? That goes to Chris De Loza. First win? That would be against San Francisco State.
But wrestlers on a reborn Fresno State team no doubt hope they will provide more than trivia answers by the time this and subsequent seasons are complete.
The Bulldogs – more than 11 years after the program was axed to resolve budget and Title IX gender-equity mandates – are back after splitting season-opening dual matches Saturday in San Francisco.
Never miss a local story.
Fresno State will face nationally ranked Illinois in its home opener at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Save Mart Center.
De Loza, fittingly a product of the local wrestling community instrumental in convincing university President Joseph Castro to reinstate the sport, won 10-0 at 141 pounds to kick-start a 35-12 victory over San Francisco State.
“It was a great first day and it is nice to get the season rolling,” coach Troy Steiner was quoted at gobulldogs.com. “We have a gauge of where we are at now and it is time to get back to work for Illinois this week, but we are excited to get going.”
Khristian Olivas (149), Greg Gaxiola (157) and Isaiah Hokit (165) each picked up decisions as the Bulldogs built a 16-0 lead. Dominic Kincaid, at 174, provided another milestone moment with the first pin of the new era.
It was 25-0 after Angel Solis won at 184, and Richie Brandt (197) delivered another pin. A.J. Nevills scored the final points for Fresno State at 285.
That the Bulldogs followed with a 19-17 loss to Nebraska-Kearney – no slouch at No. 20 in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association preseason poll – didn’t tarnish the day.
Nevills provided another huge highlight with his 12-11 win that tied it 13-13 before a forfeit at 125 effectively sealed the match for the Lopers. But there was final feel-good moment when 133-pounder Trevor Williams, the only wrestler to lose versus San Francisco State, finished with a 15-7 major decision.
Nebraska-Kearney has placed in the top four at the NCAA Championships each of the past six seasons.
Fresno State 35, San Francisco State 12
- 141: Chris De Loza (FS) maj. dec. Nick Valadez (SFSU): 11-0 | FS 4, SFSU 0
- 149: Khristian Olivas (FS) maj. dec. Isiah Alva (SFSU): 9-0 | FS 8, ILL 0
- 157: Greg Gaxiola (FS) maj. dec. Mason Boutain (SFSU): 16-2 | FS 12, SFSU 0
- 165: Isaiah Hokit (FS) maj. dec. Romeo Medina (SFSU): 16-7 | FS 16, SFSU 0
- 174: Dominic Kincaid (FS) pinned Justin Pichedwatana (SFSU): Fall 2:27 | FS 22, SFSU 0
- 184: Angel Solis (FS) dec. Kevin Henry (SFSU): 3-2 | FS 25, SFSU 0
- 197: Richie Brandt (FS) pinned Elias Rosales (SFSU): Fall 1:20 | FS 31, SFSU 0
- HWT: AJ Nevills (FS) maj. dec. Sam Alnassiri (SFSU): 11-0 | FS 35, SFSU 0
- 125: Christian Ramos (SFSU) wins by forfeit | FS 35, SFSU 6
- 133: Nate Cervantes (SFSU) pinned Trevor Williams (FS): Fall 1:58 | FS 35, SFSU 12
Nebraska-Kearney 19, Fresno State 17
- 141: Jonathan Killingsworth (UNK) dec. Chris De Loza (FS): 9-4 | FS 0, UNK 3
- 149: Khristian Olivas (FS) dec. Jacob Wasser (UNK): 4-2 | FS 3, UNK 3
- 157: Greg Gaxiola (FS) dec. Seth Harrington (UNK): 8-1 | FS 6, UNK 3
- 165: Isaiah Hokit (FS) maj. dec. Nickalas Babock (UNK): 14-3 | FS 10, UNK 3
- 174: No. 5 (Division II) Zach Stodden (UNK) dec. Dominc Kincaid (FS): 8-4 | FS 10, UNK 6
- 184: Isaac Deaton (UNK) dec. Angel Solis (FS): 10-5 | FS 10, UNK 9
- 197: Trey Schlender (UNK) maj. dec. Richie Brandt (FS): 9-0 | FS 10, UNK 13
- HWT: AJ Nevills (ILL) dec. No. 6 (Division II) Kevin Barrett (UNK): 12-11 | FS 13, UNK 13
- 125: Clayton Glendy (UNK) won by forfeit | FS 13, UNK 19
- 133: Trevor Williams (FS) maj. dec. JD Rader (UNK): 15-7 | FS 17, UNK 19
FRESNO STATE VS. ILLINOIS
- Friday, Nov. 17: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 1-1, Illlini 0-1
- Of note: Fresno State will host a dual for the first time since February 2006, a 32-13 loss to UC Davis. Four months later, the program was cut to address budget and Title IX issues before being reinstated this season. … Illinois, led by two-time NCAA individual champ Isaiah Martinez of Lemoore, is ranked No. 16 by InterMat in the NCAA Division I national rankings, No. 14 by Wrestling Insider and No. 16 by FloWrestling.
11 at San Francisco State, W, 35-12
11 vs. Nebraska-Kearney, L, 19-17
17 vs. Illinois, 7 p.m.
19 at Roadrunner Open, all day, in Bakersfield
21 vs. Air Force, 7 p.m., in San Diego
1-2 at Cliff Keen Invitational, all day, in Las Vegas
8 vs. Bakersfield, 7 p.m.
10 at Minnesota, 11 a.m.
17 at Reno Tournament of Champions, all day
4 vs. Cal Poly, 7 p.m.
12-13 at Virginia Duals, all day, in Hampton, Va.
19 vs. Utah Valley, 7 p.m.
26 at Northern Colorado, 6 p.m., in Greeley, Colo.
27 at Wyoming, tba, in Laramie, Wyo.
3 vs. Stanford, 7 p.m.
5 at Oregon State, 7 p.m., in Corvallis, Ore.
9 at Iowa State, 5 p.m., in Ames, Iowa
18 vs. Oklahoma State, 1 p.m.
3-4 at Big 12 Championships, all day, in Tulsa, Okla.
15-17 at NCAA Championships, all day, in Cleveland