Division 1 Wrestling: Update On Fresno State And Boise State
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Division 1 Wrestling: Update On Fresno State And Boise State

As Troy Steiner “eases” into his new office, the future of the Bulldogs may connect the Golden State to another national power-conference; in Boise, a team-leader leaves for the BigXII.

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Division 1 Wrestling: Update On Fresno State And Boise State
John Sachs - Tech-Fall.com

On May 11, I reported under the auspices that Fresno State would join the Pac-12 Conference come the 2017-2018 season. For what it’s worth, it seemed a reasonable assumption at the time considering the location of Fresno State, which is nestled in the center of California and at the heart of California wrestling, surrounded by Pac-12 institutions. However, on Takedown Radio ep. 998 near the 1:20:00 mark, Troy Steiner explained that the Pac-12 was not interested in any more “affiliate” (non-charter) members for the conference. As for the BigXII, Steiner stated that the conference was looking to add two affiliates, implying that the Bulldogs will likely become the 11th-member of the BigXII for wrestling. In light of the merger between the Western Wrestling Conference (which Fresno State was a charter-member) and the BigXII Conference prior to the 2015-2016 season, this move for Fresno State was a logical outcome for some in the wrestling community (shouts out Seton Hall Pirates).

What this means for the Bulldogs is that they will be able to hold a unique position in the California landscape. In a state that has Division 1 (Pac-12) programs in Stanford, CSU Bakersfield, Cal-Poly SLO; D2 programs in San Francisco State University and Cal-Baptist; NAIAs in Simpson University and Menlo College; and multiple NWCA club-teams including USC, Fresno State would provide a unique opportunity for Cali-preps to wrestle in the BigXII while staying close to home. Such an opportunity may make an already lucrative option for Cali-preps even more attractive now that wrestlers can find themselves competing against teams like Iowa State and Oklahoma State in-conference.

Steiner has already started to see the benefits of his new post as the Bulldogs have brought in three California hammers. Two recruits are from the Class of 2015, coming to Fresno State after having sought D1 competition elsewhere. According to Pablo Di Maria of The Open Mat and The California Wrestler, Khristian Olivas (transferring from Utah Valley) and Isaiah Hokit (transferring from Drexel University) are to become Bulldogs. Both Olivas and Hokit are coming off of redshirt-seasons for their respective prior-institutions. During his prep career, Olivas was a CA-state 3rd and 4th place medalist, 2014 FloNationals All-American, and projects at 149lbs. Olivas went 5-1 in 2015-2016 on redshirt, going 5-0 at the 2015 University of Wyoming Cowboy Open on the way to capturing the 149lbs Amateur Division title. Isaiah Hokit picked up 9-wins in his redshirt campaign for Drexel, was a 4x CA-state placer (5th, 4th, 6th, 4th) in high school, and a 2015 FloNationals All-American. Hokit projects at 157lbs.

The third recruit to join the Bulldogs is younger brother Josh Hokit (Class of 2016). A 3x CA-state placer (including a second-place finish to eventual Arizona State Sun Devil Anthony Valencia in 2015) and 2016 California State Champion at 182lbs, Josh Hokit is a huge grab for Coach Steiner and the Bulldog program. A 2015 FloNationals All-American alongside Isaiah, Josh projects at 197lbs/285lbs.

All three wrestlers are alums of California prep-wrestling powerhouse Clovis High School, which happens to be not too far from the Fresno State Campus:

Steiner has also begun to fill his coaching staff, starting with the hiring of highly-regarded Israel Silva as an assistant coach. Silva was a 2012 Olympic Alternate as well as a 2x NJCAA (JUCO) All-American. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga as an NCAA D1 Heavyweight Qualifier in 2006, Silva spent 2006-2009 with the UTC Mocs as a Volunteer Assistant Coach under Chris Bono. From 2009-2012, Silva shared time with Troy Steiner at Oregon State, as Silva was the Assistant Coach of the Northwest Wrestling Regional Training Center. Silva then spent the next two seasons, 2012-2014, as an assistant to Chris Bono again, this time for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. For the 2014-15 season, Silva joined the George Mason University wrestling staff as the Interim Assistant under Joe Russell, before being promoted to the Head Assistant Coach last season.

We’ll keep an eye on Fresno State as Troy Steiner continues put together a loaded squad in Fresno.

2x Pac-12 Champion leaves Boise State

Alex Steen of The Open Mat dropped huge conference news, as 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, 2x Pac-12 champion and true-Junior Geordan Martinez has transferred from Boise State to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The transfer was initially presumed to cost Martinez a year of eligibility, but it has since been reported that Martinez was granted a release from Boise State that preserved his eligibility and gave him freedom to transfer without the consequence. With his move to OSU, Martinez will join the BigXII Conference before Fresno State does. As a true freshman, Geo Martinez was the 141lbs Pac-12 Champion and finished in the NCAA Round of 12. Last season, Martinez captured the 149lbs Pac-12 title and his first All-American honor, placing 8th at NCAAs.

As for the Broncos, the departure of Martinez is also the departure of the lone All-American in the Boise State room. For newly-arrived head coach Mike Mendoza, there are two sides of this coin. The downside is that Mendoza has his work cut out for him. He already did when he took on the task of recruiting in the Pacific-Northwest for Boise State, but now he doesn’t have the ace-in-the-hole that is a returning All-American. The upside, though, is that Mendoza now has the ability to fill the Bronco ranks with a brand-new team. It is an opportunity for him to cement his position at the head of the Boise State program, using the support of the alumni and building on the tradition to bring the Broncos back to the top-10 in the country.

Mendoza has yet to fill his staff, so we’ll keep an eye on Boise State.

Want more College Wrestling? Check out my Pac-12 coverage and Coaching Conundrum series!

Pac-12 Wrestling: Renaissance

Coaching Conundrum Part 1: Fresno State

Coaching Conundrum Part 2: Boise State

Coaching Conundrum Part 3: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
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