Last year on the second weekend in January, the North Carolina wrestling team lost to Edinboro and The Citadel which began a six-match losing streak that lasted until the early days of February.
This year on the second weekend in January — this Saturday and Sunday in Clarion, Pa. and Philadelphia, respectively — UNC won all three of its dual meets: 23-21 against Michigan State, 21-19 against Clarion and 24-10 against Drexel.
And head coach C.D. Mock can pinpoint exactly why his team has avoided the setbacks that afflicted it a year ago.
“There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle,” Mock said of the reversal in success. “But the one thing is that the guys have bought in … You’ve got to believe.
“That wasn’t happening last year.”
That belief led the Tar Heels to their first dual win against a Big Ten opponent since they beat Purdue in 2007 and a rare three-meet sweep.
“It’s been a long time since we got three wins in one weekend,” Mock said. “It’s very encouraging (and) very exciting.”
One of the biggest reasons for the team’s enthusiasm is the performance of freshman Nathan Kraisser.
Kraisser, the 12th-ranked wrestler in the country for the 125-pound weight class, won all three of his matches, two by decision and one by technical fall.