PROVIDENCE, R.I. – After a strong start to 2012, including taking four matches from nationally-ranked Rutgers, the Brown wrestling team is heading to Grand Prarie, Texas for the Lone Star Duals on Saturday, January 14. It will serve as a homecoming for rookie Ophir Bernstein (Allen, Texas) who will have his first chance to wrestle as a collegian in front of family and friends.
Despite making the transition from high school to NCAA Division I Wrestling, Bernstein has been a steadying force for the Bears at the 184-pound division, posting a 15-5 record to begin his rookie campaign.
"I knew that it would be a big jump going from high school to college wrestling. Great coaching and a lot of hard work can make the jump from high school to college much smoother, and I think that's what you see in my case," said Bernstein.
Brown is one of just two universities that have participated in the duals since its inception 15 years ago, joining the University of Oklahoma. The event has become the premier wrestling tournament in the state of Texas.
"I'm definitely excited to compete at this tournament, it's always good to test yourself against tough competition. However, I'm not looking at this tournament differently than any other tournament we're wrestling this year," remarked Bernstein. "Even though it will be very exciting competing back in my hometown, ultimately it will just be another tournament. When you're out there on the mat, it doesn't really matter what city, state, or continent you're on, all that matters is if you're better than your opponent that day."
"It will be exciting going back and wrestling in Dallas, wrestling in front of my friends and family that will be there supporting me and the team, but we're going to stay focused on the matches and not get distracted by the city we're in or anything else. Wrestling is what we're there for," stated Bernstein.
Brown and Oklahoma will be joined by Air Force, Harvard, Utah Valley, UT-Chattanooga, Appalachian State, Wayland Baptist, Central Baptist, Texas, UT-Arlington and Marion Military Institute. The duals will be the Bears final compeition before beginning its Ivy League schedule on January 21, against Cornell. Bernstein and all the Brown wrestlers are focused on the weekend but have individual and team goals that extend beyond.
"Personally, I want to qualify for the national tournament this year. This has been my goal since the beginning of the year and I think I have a solid chance of reaching this goal if I keep up the hard work that I've been putting in and wrestling smart," said Bernstein. "As a team, we are very young. We want to have a strong performance at the EIWA tournament.
For more information on the 2012 Lone Star Duals, please visit www.lonestarduals.com.