TORONTO, ONT. — The Adrian College women's wrestling team will get a taste for international competition on Sunday when it competes in the Ryerson Open in Canada.
Head Coach Cliff Cushard likes to have his team compete in Canada at least one time each season.
He said he does it for a reason.
"Women in Canada only wrestle the international style of wrestling, freestyle, so for their entire careers they've been thinking about the strategies and tactics to be successful in this style," Cushard said. "Here in the U.S. almost all of our women grew up wrestling our indigenous style of wrestling, folk style, and have different tendencies than a pure freestyler. We like to travel out of the country to get a taste of that difference and to give our athletes some international exposure. Most wrestlers dream of competing internationally - and this is one way to do that without breaking the budget."
The Bulldogs are coming off a strong showing at the Dr. Bob Kellogg MacMurray Open where seven wrestlers placed.
Sophomore Zoe Nowicki continued her early-season tear by winning her second straight tournament. The 136-pounder is 7-0 on the year and leads the team in wins.
Senior Mara Eason made the finals for the first time in her career, but would have to settle for second at 155 pounds.
Cushard said he's kept the message to his team consistent early in the season.
"I told them to trust in their training," he said. "It's gotten us very far very quickly. I also told them to keep working on what we have been covering. The team has shown good progress and if they can improve as wrestlers every day — we're going to have a great season."
Early in the season, Cushard said he is impressed with his young team.
Youth can sometimes take longer into the season to develop.
"Our development has been constant. Our team is still young and we are working on acquiring new skills daily," Cushard said. "This team is very coachable and works hard. It's a lot of fun to coach them and see the things we are working on in practice show up in the next competition. That isn't as common as you might expect. Like all coaches, I am always looking for a higher level of performance out of them. I've been stressing urgency and physicality of late. When you physically dominate your opponent you almost always have a better result."
Wrestling starts at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.