WSU Wrestling wins first place for men and third place for women 

Men win 5 straight, women only lose to top 2 teams

GABRIELLE BOWMAN, Evergreen news co-editor

It was no surprise to the WSU wrestling team when they pinned their way through the National Collegiate Wrestling Association in Suprise, Arizona Friday and Saturday.

The men’s team placed first at the Western Regional Duals while the women’s team took third place at the National Duals.

During their time in Arizona, the men’s team showed they were unstoppable as they won five straight wrestling duals and the women only fell to the two top teams in the nation, according to the NCWA website.

The team has come a long way since the beginning. After coming off of a long break because of the pandemic it was a struggle for teams to compete at the level they could before. After this past weekend, the team truly proved themselves through the titles they have gained, said Cameron Bennett, senior mechanical engineering major.


“Seeing [wrestling] from the outside, looking back, the people on the sidelines have just as much of an impact on the outcome,” Bennett said.

While wrestling may come off as an individual sport, the team aspect plays an important role when they compete.

“It is amazing to see how us girls, we connected, we bonded and we built so much out of it [being on the team],” said freshman nursing major Annika Arriola.

It is the first time the women’s team specifically had ever been to a duels match, Arriola said.

“I beat a girl from Grays Harbor that I hadn’t beat before,” said Petra Bernsten, freshman molecular biochemicals major. “Then seeing the progression in the guys wrestling was really cool and seeing all the girls wrestle freestyle and against tough teams was a cool opportunity to see.”

Specifically, Bernsten is currently ranked second in the country across all women’s weight classes, according to the roster.

Keelen Mitcham, sophomore mechanical engineering major, went undefeated at 5-0 and continued his streak of pinning everyone within the first period.

“I wrestled pretty well and did well against guys I had never wrestled before,” Mitcham said.

The experience of going to Arizona to compete meant a lot to the team.

“I was very motivated and I felt aggressive. I felt the most motivated that I have this season when it came to wrestling,” said Marie Marbet, sophomore political science major.


Soon the wrestling team will head to nationals in Puerto Rico where they plan to work even harder and achieve the goals they have set out for themselves, said Phil Burnett, head coach of the wrestling teams.

“I feel we will have the most all-Americans at Washington State University,” Burnett said. “We currently have three of our women ranked in the top four in the country (all-American), they can continue with their rankings they will have a good shot and we have at least five or six men in the top of the country right now.”

James Cox, senior management information systems and finance major, has been the longest active member on the team and most people now did not see how far from the ground up the team came from, he said.

The WSU Wrestling team intends to post about their trip to nationals and other activities through their social media @CougWrestling on Facebook and @wsu_wrestling on Instagram.