Familiar foes

Mesa's Hoffschneider,
Buhr wrestle each other
in practice, tournaments

Jessie Hoffschneider has seen plenty of Jason Buhr, both in practice and in tournaments. The two Colorado Mesa teammates are battling to see who wrestles at 165 pounds, with Buhr having the advantage now.

Every day, Jason Buhr and Jessie Hoffschneider practice against one another in the Colorado Mesa wrestling room.

Twice in three open tournaments so far this season, they’ve met in a 165-pound match.

“We find each other somewhere. I guess we’ll see how it goes Saturday,” said Buhr, who has won both of those matches, including pinning his teammate and practice partner in the championship match of the Nebraska-Kearney Open last month.

CMU coach Chuck Pipher hadn’t set his lineup earlier this week for Saturday’s Colorado Mesa Open, which begins at
9 a.m. at Brownson Arena, but it could happen again.

“I hate wrestling the same guy, I really do,” said Buhr, the RMAC freshman of the year last season after a 30-10 record and a runner-up finish at the conference tournament. “I don’t like it, but sometimes that’s how it falls. You don’t have another option but to just do it and do your best. It’s kind of the nature of the beast, especially at the opens.”

In open tournaments, teams can enter multiple wrestlers in each weight class, so the chances of two wrestlers from the same team meeting in the bracket isn’t that unique, especially when you have two good wrestlers in the same weight class.

“That’s the whole situation right now from 149s to 174s,” Pipher said. “Jason could cut to 57s, but we’re trying to put our best lineup out there. Jason could go to 57, but we’ve got (Payton) Tawater in there who’s doing a pretty good job for us. Jason’s not a big weight-cutter; he feels comfortable at 165. Jessie could possibly go up to 174. We have some options there, but we’re going to have to see how it plays out.

“Our goal is to get as many guys as we can to the national tournament, and with that, put the best guys at each weight we can. Jessie’s been in there the last two, three years. Last year he got injured and fell off (the lineup) toward the end. We’ll see how it all pans out. It’s a good problem to have depth at those weights there.”

Bruno Nicoletti has been wrestling well at 174, going 11-3 so far with a title in the Northern Colorado Open and a third-place finish at Kearney. Hoffschneider beat Nicoletti 4-3 in the Maroon and White scrimmage last month.

With injuries and illnesses throughout the season, the lineup will shuffle as the Mavericks get into the dual season in a couple of weeks.

After Saturday’s open, which, Pipher said, will move quickly, wrapping up by 1 or 2 p.m., CMU heads to the Reno Tournament of Champions next week, then begins RMAC dual competition after the first of the year, plus trips to the Tracy Borah Duals in Gunnison and the Midwest Duals in Kearney, Nebraska.

The Colorado Mesa Open will be a bit smaller than in the past, with several schools opting not to wrestle this weekend because of final exams. Pipher expects 80-100 wrestlers from schools including Western State, Air Force Prep, Wyoming and Northern Colorado.

He’ll hold out some of his wrestlers who have nagging injuries and are cutting weight to have them ready for Reno as the coaching staff starts to finalize the dual lineup. Because redshirts are allowed to wrestle in open tournaments without losing a year of eligibility, fans will get a glimpse of the future as well as the present this weekend.

“It’s a good spot for our fans to see some of our redshirts, who will be the face of our team next year and even now if there are injuries,” Buhr said. “We do have a great team, great depth, and that’s what makes it hard to compete so much in the room. It makes us a good team. We have the athletes, the wrestlers that people are going to want to come watch.”

With the past two weekends off, it’s allowed the Mavericks to get back to basics and work on technique. For Buhr, it’s a time to start really focusing in on accomplishing his goals.

“Last year didn’t end the way I wanted it to,” he said. “I fell short at regionals. My goal last year was to be an All-American. Same this year, national champion, it’s all there. It was there last year and I fell short and that hasn’t changed. It’ll be there this year and I’ll try to do a little bit better this year than last year.”


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