Chip on shoulder fuels Boise State wrestler Felix

ccripe@idahostatesman.comNovember 15, 2013 

Boise State senior heavyweight J.T. Felix opened his season with two pins, a major decision and the outstanding wrestler award Nov. 2 at the Cowboy Open in Laramie, Wyo.

It was a statement day for a guy still ticked that he squandered a shot to become an All-American at the end of last season.

“I’ve got bad blood in me right now,” Felix said. “Anywhere I go, I need to start expecting to dominate and I think it will pay off in the long run.”

Felix and a rebuilt Broncos lineup will make their home debut Friday night against Wyoming in Bronco Gym (7 p.m.).

It’s the Broncos’ only home appearance before Jan. 17. They usually compete in Taco Bell Arena, which is occupied by the men’s basketball team, but Felix is looking forward to the cozy environment.

“I hope it’s packed and I hope it’s loud — really loud,” he said.

Coach Greg Randall’s team is ranked No. 19 in the nation. Senior Jake Swartz is ranked as high as No. 5 at 184 pounds. Sophomore Chris Castillo (149 pounds) was the Broncos’ only champion other than Felix at the Cowboy Open.

Several wrestlers have dropped down a weight class this year in an attempt to field a bigger, stronger lineup. That includes Castillo, who was a backup at 157 last year.

“He’s going to be exciting to watch,” Randall said. “The wrestling fans are really going to love the way he wrestles.”

Much of the rest of the lineup is in flux — typical for this time of year. The Broncos have made a habit of peaking around the Pac-12 tournament, but they haven’t won it since 2011.

“We’ve got a lot of improvement to do,” Randall said. “This team can come together and do really well. Hopefully, by second semester we’ll have everybody in the right place that we’re able to compete against some of the best teams in the country.”

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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