By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Two seasons ago, Austin Marsden was a reserve heavyweight during his freshman season. Before the National Duals, starting heavyweight Alan ‘Z’ Gelogaev suffered a season-ending injury and Marsden’s number was called.
“When I first heard, I was in shock,” Marsden said. “Then I got a phone call that I was going to put off my redshirt and the coaches got me prepared for that moment. I was excited and nervous at the same time.”
Now, after spending last season as Gelogaev’s workout partner, Marsden hopes to give Cowboy wrestling fans a preview of what to expect next season, when he competes in the U.S. FILA Junior World Team Trials Sunday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I only got to wrestle a few matches (in my first year),” Marsden said. “Hopefully the fans can see me and hopefully I can impress them with how I wrestle and give them a little show before next season.”
Marsden said it was a whirlwind experience when he stepped into the Cowboys’ starting lineup two seasons ago but said he enjoyed it.
“The first match was at national duals and I was excited to come out in the last match,” Marsden said. “I was nervous and didn’t want to lose it for the team. I stepped up and pulled that match out. ... Overall the experience I pulled out of those matches was a learning experience and I was glad I got the chance to do that.”
The then-freshman heavyweight finished the season 27-5 and finished second at the Big 12 championships Last season, Marsden was a red-shirt and only competed in tournaments, racking up an 8-1 record. The sophomore he gained a lot from working out with Gelogaev, who finished third in the NCAA Tournament.
“Z was very helpful,” Marsden said. “I won’t have a partner like that for awhile. All the stuff he taught me and all the technique he showed me and I can use that for the freestyle at the world trials. Hopefully, I can make the World team with all the help that he has given me.”
Marsden finished fourth in the University Nationals at the end of May in Akron, Ohio. The redshirt sophomore won his first four matches before losing to two-time NCAA champion Tony Nelson. Marsden split his wrestleback matches and said it didn’t take much to get used to competition.
“I’ve been practicing up here all year long as a redshirt preparing Z for competitions,” Marsden said. “As I would drill with him, I used that to train for universities. So, when I got there, I trained and drilled to the same mindset. It’s been awhile since I’ve been out there, but I feel good and confident.”
Marsden said the competition at the trials will be tough but is looking forward to it.
“I’m glad I got to wrestle a lot of tough matches,” Marsden said. “With the new rules, I’m glad I got to wrestle before the world trials here. It was tough overall and good competition.”
New rules approved last May changed the timing to two three-minute sessions and the scoring is cumulative instead of the previous two-out-of-three system. With wrestling fighting for a spot in the 2020 Olympics, Marsden thinks this weekend will give a lot of exposure to the sport.
“It will definitely help, especially with the fans here,” Marsden said. “Oklahoma is a big wrestling state. We have a lot of fans that support and a lot of people that come out. A lot of competition and a lot of good wrestlers.”