Amar Dhesi is working his way back to where he wants to be, and Oregon State’s star heavyweight is confident he’ll be there when it counts.
Dhesi got a late start to the wrestling season and was away from school for fall term when he took two months off after competing in the world championships.
But the two-time All-American and OSU graduate showed progress Monday night with a sixth straight win in the Beavers’ 23-14 dual meet loss to Iowa State at Gill Coliseum.
Dhesi, who got a third-round technical fall against Ethan Andersen, said he’s steadily getting more comfortable with his moves and timing since rejoining the team the first week of January.
“I feel like I’m on track,” he said. “Every time I showed up at NCAAs the last three times I went I was ready and prepared. I feel like I’m progressing well. I know when March comes I’ll be ready.”
Oregon State coach Jim Zalesky said he was impressed by Dhesi’s 23 points Monday and the energy it takes to put up that total.
“A lot of times you have to wrestle yourself into shape in matches. He’s been looking better and better,” Zalesky said of Dhesi (6-1), who placed third at nationals in 2018 and is currently ranked fourth in the country. “I think he’s getting closer. The better the competition is, the better he wrestles.”
Teammate Bob Coleman took on a former high school classmate and still occasional training partner when he met Sam Colbray at 184 pounds.
Colbray, a nationally ranked competitor, got the better of his old Hermiston High football and wrestling teammate with a 13-4 major decision.
It wasn’t easy on either wrestler because they know each other so well.
“You’ve just got to put your best foot forward and go out and wrestle. We haven’t wrestled in a while now, so everyone changes,” Coleman said. “He’s wrestling real well right now. You just want to go out and do your best. Even if he knows what you’re going to do, you still have to go out and do it.”
They’ve been best friends since sixth grade, when they dressed up for Halloween as the Men in Black. Their parents got a good laugh Monday looking at a picture from that night nearly 10 years ago.
Coleman (13-13) was a four-time state tournament qualifier, taking second at 170 in 2015 and then winning the 182 title in 2016. Colbray (21-5) won his fourth straight title at 195 in 2016 as Hermiston won its fourth straight 5A team championship and the program's ninth in 10 years.
Joey Delgado and Abraham Rodriguez, Hermiston teammates to Coleman and Colbray, also wrestled at Oregon State.
Coleman has held down the Beavers' top spot at 184 pounds for the past seven duals. He’s beaten out teammate Myles Terry, who was a Pac-12 third-place finisher and narrowly missed the NCAA tournament in 2018.
Oregon State (4-7) was ranked as high as 17th and Iowa State (10-2) 12th by various national polls last week.
OSU’s Ronnie Bresser (19-1), ranked third at 125, got an escape and a quick takedown early in the third round on his way to a 9-5 decision versus Alex Mackall.
At 133, Devan Turner (18-7) couldn’t gain any momentum against ranked Cyclone Austin Gomez and was pinned in the third round.
Grant Willits got the Beavers back to even at 6-all with a 9-4 decision at 141 against Ian Parker, another ranked competitor. Willits (14-7) scored six in the first round on a takedown and nearfall and Parker got no closer than four from there.
“He’s been close a lot of matches,” Zalesky said of Willits. “Beating his first ranked guy, that was a big win for him.”
At 149, Iowa State’s Jarrett Degen held off Josh Reyes (9-8) for an 11-7 decision.
Degen, who is ranked, battled back from a 6-5 deficit after a Reyes takedown late in the second round. Degen got a four-point nearfall early in the third to gain control.
Iowa State’s Chase Straw pulled away from Zech Bresser (2-3), Ronnie’s younger brother, for an 8-3 decision at 157 and a 12-6 Cyclones lead at intermission.
At 165, Oregon State’s Aaron Olmos (7-12) gave up a takedown in the closing seconds of regulation and another in the first 30 seconds of overtime to lose 6-4 to Logan Schumacher.
Colt Doyle got the Beavers back within six at 15-9 with a 12-6 decision against Marcus Coleman, a ranked competitor, at 174. Doyle (13-8) got an escape, takedown and a two-point nearfall in the second period to take a 9-1 lead.
“Colt’s been coming on,” Zalesky said. “He started slow at the beginning of the year and now he’s probably one of our best consistent performers.”
Willie Miklus, Iowa State’s ranked wrestler at 197, dominated in an 11-1 major decision against Jamarcus Grant (14-12).
Oregon State has duals the next two Fridays — hosting Stanford this week and going to Cal Baptist the next — before the Pac-12 championships March 9 at Arizona State.