Ronnie Bresser and Amarveer Dhesi will ultimately be judged in their college wrestling careers based on wins and losses.
But that’s not how Oregon State’s top competitors say they determine their own progress.
Bresser and Dhesi have turned the corner on earlier defeats and OSU seems to have done the same and is headed in the right directions with the season on the back half of the schedule.
“I just try and go out and perform,” Bresser, a 125-pound junior said of his approach. “I try to put as many holds as I can together. I think about it as if I’m scoring and he’s not.”
Bresser (17-4) ran his win streak to three with dominant wins against Cal Poly and Fresno State in recent home duals.
He says the current goal is to just keep improving.
“In some matches I take two to three good shots. I’ve got to learn how to put five or six together against good guys to come out on top,” Bresser said.
He’s ranked as high as seventh in the most recent national polls, while Dhesi tops out at eighth. Both are two-time NCAA qualifiers.
“I kind of know where I’m at just because of how I feel, and I’ve wrestled a lot of guys before,” said Dhesi (16-3), a senior heavyweight who reached All-American status in 2016. “When I’m feeling good I know I’m up there with the best.”
Dhesi said signs that show him he’s wrestling well are that he has strong cardio and movement and he’s in the “right mindset.”
All of those are there now, Dhesi says, with two regular-season dual meets remaining, the first on Saturday at Stanford, before the Beavers host the Pac-12 championships Feb. 25 at Gill Coliseum.
OSU (5-5, 1-1) has won three straight home duals after taking on a challenging schedule that saw the Beavers wrestle six tournaments and three duals in a 66-day stretch between competitions at Gill.
“We’ve come a long ways in the last month,” coach Jim Zalesky said.
The Beavers have five wrestlers in all who have been to the NCAA tournament twice. All have been conference champions.
Senior Jack Hathaway (19-11) made it to nationals at 133 in 2015 and then again last season at 141, where he currently competes.
Junior 197-pounder Corey Griego (17-5) has made it each of the last two seasons.
Cody Crawford, a senior heavyweight, qualified at 197 in 2015 as a freshman. He made it again in 2017 at heavyweight, where he moved to fill a spot vacated by Dhesi, who used his redshirt following a knee injury.
Dhesi won a wrestle-off against Crawford (14-5) to earn the dual meet spot.
“That’s what you need. I wish we had that at every weight,” Zalesky said. “That’s what it’s all about. You need that kind of competition, pushing each other.”
With assistant coach and former OSU All-American Taylor Meeks also in the practice room, it’s made some interesting battles.
“It’s been a great partnership,” Dhesi said. “I have Meeks, Crawford, I have a lot of guys on me. They try and double on me on most practices, so it’s fun.”
Dhesi has missed two seasons (2015, 2017) due to knee injuries but says he is fine now. He went 4-3 to finish sixth at the late-December Midlands Championships but has since won seven in a row.
“I’m fine with how I’m wrestling,” he said. “It’s all progressing, so that’s all that really matters.”
With Bresser and Dhesi sidelined last year, Arizona State broke Oregon State’s streak of five straight Pac-12 team titles.
The Sun Devils defeated the Beavers 27-15 in Tempe on Jan. 20.
“We’ve just got to wrestle. We lost to Arizona State, just a couple matches here and there and we’re right back in it,” Bresser said. “They’re a top-10, top-5 ranked team. I think if we just come out and battle and fight and not care who we’re wrestling we’ll be in good shape.”