Brendan Buckley might be the only person in San Luis Obispo County hoping it doesn’t rain today.
The third-year Cal Poly wrestling coach has dreamt of scheduling an outdoor match since he began his coaching career in 1997, and now that he has, the forecast in one of the most temperate climates in the country during the worst drought on record is calling for cold and rain.
The stormy weather is expected to taper off around midday, Buckley hopes, in plenty of time to clear up for a 3 p.m. Pac-12 match against nationally ranked Oregon State in the plaza of the University Union.
If executed as planned, the free event should provide the wrestling program with ample exposure to a student body the Mustangs would love to see more of at their indoor matches.
“Everybody loves competing in front of a good crowd, a strong crowd, an energized crowd and to compete in front of your peers,” Buckley said. “We want to have a large Cal Poly student body at our competitions. Every sport here does; every college wants that. This is a great way to do it. You really can’t miss the fact that there’s going to be wrestling going on, assuming at any point during a student’s day, they’re walking anywhere near the University Union.”
After winning a conference title and earning All-America status as a competitor his senior season at Fresno State in 1997, Buckley went on to assist the wrestling program at UC Davis, where the Aggies had just pulled off an outdoor match.
Buckley wasn’t there in time to witness the event, but he’s been planning to hold his own ever since. The winter weather wasn’t going to let that happen in previous stops as an assistant at Virginia and the head coach at Columbia.
“I literally just missed it,” Buckley said, “but I heard many stories, and I was shown where it took place. I thought that was a great concept. Our weather’s even better here than in Davis, and hopefully, it works out we’re able to do this once every year.”
This year, the match will be against the No. 24 Beavers (8-5), who are coming in off 28-10 victory over No. 20 Lehigh and a slim 20-18 loss to No. 6 Oklahoma.
Oregon State beat Cal Poly 50-0 in last year’s dual in Corvallis and has won 34 of 44 matches between the programs all-time.
The Mustangs (3-5) are led by sophomore 133-pounder Devon Lotito, who is 17-7 and ranked 18th in the national poll. Brothers Dominic (14-3 and ranked 19th at 174 pounds) and Blake Kastl (18-8 and ranked 31st at 149 pounds) are the Mustangs’ other top threats.