Lopes start fall with myriad of tournament finishes
By: Zach Melcher/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
A good start.
The Grand Canyon University Wrestling team started competition after spending their entire last season dormant due to COVID-19. To counteract the latency, Lopes’ Head Coach Mickey Nunez planned an eventful fall schedule chock-full of scrimmages and tournaments.
The Lopes’ first major tournament of the year was the Under the Lights Wrestling Tournament at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix. GCU left the tournament with nine medals overall, and the Lopes’ Robert Zilske, Beau Beavers, and Orianna Morales finished with gold medals in their respective weight divisions.
“It’s an early gauge for me to see where we stack up,” said Nunez. “Our competition was impressed and shocked we were only a club team.”
The next tournament on the docket for the Lopes was the Fresno State College Co-ed Invitational in Fresno, California. The Lopes’ women’s team went undefeated in their head-to-head matchup with the Fresno State women’s team. On the men’s side of the tournament for GCU, Beavers placed third, Marcus Lopez placed fourth, and Noah Valenzuela placed fifth in their weight divisions.
“I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity since we got back to campus this year,” said Lopez. “Battling through a hand injury I sustained from the first tournament, it was great to see my hard work pay off to finish as high as I did.”
Up next for the Lopes will be a Tri-dual Competition in Surprise against Ottawa University and Life Pacific University at 4 pm this Saturday.
“I believe the guys and girls are where they need to be right now,” said Nunez. “We will continue to push them now so that they will reach their peak for the National Collegiate Championship.”
Interested in learning more about the GCU Club Wrestling team?