NORMAN — The Sooners joined wrestling programs across the country on Tuesday in holding their first official practice of the 2017-18 season.
“It’s exciting now that season’s here, that the day has come,” senior wrestler Mike Longo said. “Competition is just around the corner now, and we’ll start getting our weight down. I think just having that mentality that season’s here is going to elevate the room and people, if they weren’t as serious before, are really going to kick into gear.”
The hour-long training session in McCasland Field House’s wrestling room marked the end of a long offseason. Head coach Lou Rosselli, who is entering his second season with the Sooners, said that his student-athletes will begin more technical work as they start official practices.
“It’ll be a lot more live wrestling,” Rosselli said. “You’ll have wrestling practice five days a week. It’s a shift from a conditioning state to more live wrestling. You do some lifts and some runs, but it’ll definitely be more focused on the technical portion.”
Longo said his teammates will take a focused work ethic from offseason conditioning into official practices.
“Things won’t change much,” he explained. “We’ve been going hard the whole time. We’ll continue to go hard.
“Our team’s going to be really great this year,” Longo continued. “There’s a lot of talented kids and a lot of people who work really hard, so I’m looking forward to this season for myself and this team just to see what we can do.”
This season, OU returns six starters, including four NCAA qualifiers, from the 2017 squad. The team also welcomes 11 freshmen for the upcoming season.
“I expect success from everybody,” Rosselli said. “I think that when you prepare the way we do, to think that they’re not going to be successful is not in my mind. I expect success, and every person’s probably a little bit different on what that looks like. If you’re a good wrestler and you’ve prepared well, it’ll show.”
The Sooners will host the annual Red-White Scrimmage on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. CT at McCasland Field House. Admission to the event is free.
“The season’s coming fast,” Rosselli said. “That’s the true test, the competitions. Practice is just getting you prepared and ready.”
OU begins competition Nov. 5 at the Michigan State Open, the first of four consecutive road tournaments for the team. The Sooners return to McCasland Field House for their first dual of the season on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. CT against Appalachian State.
Season tickets are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets online or by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424.