By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com) - Following another historic season that saw the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire wrestling team send a school-record three wrestlers to the national tournament, the Blugolds now set their sights on the 2018-19 season. What follows is a brief rundown of the highlights ahead on next year's slate.
The Blugolds will open up the season at home, hosting St. Olaf on November 2. Other notables from the month of November include conference duals on the road at UW-La Crosse on the 9th and Chancellor's Cup IV at UW-Oshkosh on the 13th.
"This year with our five home duals, we will again provide a high-energy atmosphere and make McPhee a great home-mat advantage for our wrestlers," said Head Coach Tim Fader. "It was fun to introduce our season ticket packages last year, and the increased attendance at home events was exciting."
The squad rounds out the 2018 portion of the schedule at UW-Stevens Point on December 12 and attending a new event in the Nebraska Wesleyan Duals on December 15 in Lincoln.
Speaking of new events, the big one for this upcoming year is certainly the team's first-ever appearance in the NWCA Multi Divisional National Duals on January 4-5. This 24-team dual tournament to kick off the new year is invitation-only and selects only the best teams across the nation to compete in it.
The rest of the month of January will be filled with great competition. Following the National Duals, Eau Claire will make their annual trip out to Williamsport, Penn. for the Budd Whitehill Duals, taking place on January 11-12. When they return home, they will host perennial powerhouse Augsburg University (Jan. 19), who is sure to be one of the higher-ranked teams in the country. They then conclude the month at the always-tough Pete Willson Invitational in Wheaton, Ill. on January 25-26.
Three events in February will have the mats rolled out in the McPhee Center. The team's final home dual of the year sees the blue and gold take on St. John's (Feb. 1). The following day, Eau Claire welcomes competitors for the Don Parker Blugold Open, and this year, they also will be hosting the WIAC Championships on February 8.
"This year's Don Parker will be the 41st annual, one of the oldest-run wrestling tournaments in the country," added Fader. "UW-Eau Claire is also proud to host the WIAC Championships the following week."
The postseason continues on February 22-23 for the NCAA Regionals at a site yet to be determined, and the NCAA Championships conclude the season in Virginia.
Fader concluded with, "We will be able to see the best Division III competition possible with this schedule, which is important to the improvement of the Blugold wrestling program at the national level."
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