Little Rock (LR) wrestling capped their inaugural season at the PAC-12 Conference Championships on March 7. Junior Paul Bianchi led the way for the Trojans, finishing runner-up in his class. Redshirt freshman and first Trojan wrestler on campus Conner Ward placed fourth in his class.
Bianchi received a bye for his class’ first round and won his semifinal match against Cal Poly wrestler Cole Reyes 7-4. In the championship match, Bianchi faced Oregon State’s Devan Turner. Bianchi and Turner dueled earlier in the year, with Turner taking a close two-point win. Despite notching three escapes, Bianchi failed to complete a takedown and lost to Turner 5-3.
Ward lost his first-round match, but won the consolation semifinals, notching a place in the third-place match. Facing Arizona State wrestler Cory Crooks, Ward lost 4-1.
Four other Trojans won matches at the Championships, finishing in fifth place in their classes. Juniors Jose Champagne and Dylan Johnson and freshmen Jayden Carson and Matthew Muller notched victories in their respective brackets.
LR finished their first season of competitive play with a 1-8 record. Their only victory came in their first home match in program history, Nov. 24 against the University of the Ozarks. At invitationals, the Trojans placed fourth at the Cougar Clash Invitational on Dec. 7 and 25th at the Southern Scuffle on New Years’ Day.
Recruiting for the 2020-21 season is well underway with nine commitments already announced.