MAC Wrestling Weekend Preview - Nov. 22nd

Updated 11/22/2013

Here is a preview to this weekend's MAC Wrestling action:

Bulls head to New York State Collegiate Championships
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo wrestling team travels to Ithaca, NY for the New York State Collegiate Championships being hosted by Cornell on Sunday. The Bulls finished in fourth place of 18 team's last year at this event.
First year head coach John Stutzman leads his squad into the tournament following a strong showing at the Oklahoma Gold Invitational in their first match of the season. The Bulls picked up a fourth place finish out of six teams. Two of the teams that finished ahead of the Bulls, Oklahoma and Bloomsburg, are both ranked inside the top 25 so far this season. 
The Bulls led all teams with nine wrestlers earning top 5 finishes at the Oklahoma Gold Invitational including Nick Flannery and Tony Lock who each earned team-best second place finishes. The #16 ranked wrestler in the 125 pound weight class, Max Soria, continued to prove his worth as he earned a third place finish. His lone loss on the afternoon came to Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma who ranks #5 in the country.
The Bulls will be looking for a strong showing as the dual meet season is right around the corner with matches against Kent State and Central Michigan just over two weeks away on December 7 and 8 respectively. The Northeast Duals which are held in Albany, NY are next for the Bulls on November 30.
Kent State:
Flashes Look to Repeat as Navy Classic Champions
Kent State will compete in its first team-scored tournament of the season Saturday at the Navy Classic inside Wesley Brown Field House.  Looking to repeat as tournament champions, the Golden Flashes will be among a field of 12 teams: No. 24 Wisconsin, Brown, Bucknell, The Citadel, Cleveland State, Franklin & Marshall, Navy, Ohio, Princeton, Chattanooga, West Virginia.  Action begins at 10 a.m. with the final round scheduled for 5 p.m.  Twenty Kent State wrestlers are expected to make the trip.  
Last season, the Flashes won four individual titles at the Navy Classic, finishing just ahead of the second place Midshipmen.  Caleb Marsh won an individual crown at 165 pounds, going 4-0 in his first competition of the season.  Up a weight class (174) this season, Marsh is 3-2.
Marsh was one of nine Flashes to earn a victory against Gardner-Webb last weekend in a 42-4 win at the Eastern Michigan Duals.  Kent State was also dominant in a 32-9 victory over Campbellsville. The Flashes also knocked off No. 20 Michigan 17-16.  Each team won five matches, but sophomore Ian Miller’s tech fall made the scoring difference.     
Miller (5-1) was one of five Flashes to go 3-0 at the EMU duals.  He improved to 19-2 in career duals.  All five of Miller’s wins have been by pin or major decision.  Saturday, he could face No. 7 Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin.
Also going 3-0 last weekend was sophomore Sam Wheeler, who improved to 6-0 on the year.  Wheeler defeated No. 11 Max Huntley of Michigan 3-1.  Last year, he placed second at the Navy Classic. Saturday his bracket may include No. 12 Jackson Hein of Wisconsin.
After going 0-3 at the Virginia Tech Duals, sophomore 149-pounder Michael DePalma made a huge turnaround, going 3-0 at EMU.  DePalma (7-5) knocked off No. 8 Eric Grajales of Michigan 9-5 and had a pair of pins.
Sophomore 197-pounder Cole Baxter went 3-0 with a tech fall on the weekend, moving to 9-3 on the season.  Baxter’s bracket could include No. 15 Phil Wellington of Ohio.
Junior 141-pounder Tyler Small also went 3-0 at EMU, allowing just two points in three matches.  Joining Small at 141 will be sophomore Kyle Bauer, who is coming off a fifth place finish at the EMU Open.  Bauer also finished fifth at last year’s Navy Classic.  Their bracket could include No. 6 Richard Durso of Franklin & Marshall.
Redshirt freshman heavyweight Mimmo Lytle had a pair of first period pins in a 2-1 day at the EMU Duals.  His bracket could feature a pair of Top 10 opponents in No. 6 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) and No. 10 Jeremy Johnson (Ohio).
Sophomore 133-pounder Mack McGuire also went 2-1 last weekend with an opening minute pin against Garner Webb’s Victor Blasucci.  No. 2 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) headlines the bracket.
Junior Andy Candiello placed fourth at last year’s tournament.  This year, he joins Miller at 157.
In the Rankings
Amateur Wrestling News
13. Ian Miller (157)
17. Sam Wheeler (184)
12. Ian Miller (157)
20. Sam Wheeler (184)
17. Tyler Small (141)
10. Ian Miller (157)
18. Sam Wheeler (184)
18. Cole Baxter (197)
Wrestling Report
25. Mack McGuire (133)
27. Tyler Small (141)
20. Mike DePalma (149)
13. Ian Miller (157)
28. Caleb Marsh (174)
18. Sam Wheeler (184)
30. Cole Baxter (197)
Up Next
The Golden Flashes return to action Dec. 7 for their home opener and Mid-American Conference opener against Buffalo.  Since Head Coach Jim Andrassy’s third season (2005-06), the Golden Flashes have gone 112-40-1 in dual meets.
Northern Illinois:
Huskies Host Northern Iowa, North Dakota State in Northern Duals; NIU coming off 2-2 weekend at EMU Duals
DeKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University wrestling team kicks off their home schedule Saturday when they face Northern Iowa and North Dakota State in the Northern Duals.  The triangular begins at 10 a.m. in the NIU Convocation Center with NIU battling UNI. That is followed by NDSU-UNI at noon and NIU-NDSU at approximately 2 p.m.
"It's early and we already have an intense conference match up, so we are focused heading into the weekend,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Our wrestlers have been in the fire for the past three weeks. They are developing every day and look forward to each new challenge the week presents. Being at home will be a welcome change for us."
Last week, the Huskies opened up their dual slate with wins over Clarion (21-15) and Findlay (41-9), coupled with losses to nationally-ranked Michigan (22-9) and Oregon State (27-9). Kevin Fanta, Andrew Morse and Shawn Scott each came away with three wins, while Gabe Morse earned the biggest win of the day with a 5-4 win over #5 Eric Grajales of Michigan.
On the other side, new conference foe Northern Iowa comes to town following a successful weekend at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open, where they put 17 wrestlers on the podium and won seven weight classes. In addition, Western Wrestling Conference member North Dakota State has placed 12 wrestlers at each of their last two tournaments.
Live results will be available on via TrackWrestling.
Projected NIU Lineup
125: Braun Marquez OR Nick Harrison
133: Nick Smith
141: Tyler Argue OR Kevin Fanta
149: Gabe Morse
157: #18 Andrew Morse
165: Sam Bennett OR Trace Engelkes
174: Billy Chancey
184: Caleb Busson
197: Shawn Scott
285: Jared Torrence
Scouting Northern Iowa
Saturday will mark the first dual action for Northern Iowa this season. Last weekend, the Panthers won seven weight classes and placed 17 wrestlers on the podium at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open in Moorhead, Minn. UNI returns three of their four NCAA qualifiers from 2013, as Levi Wolfensperger (133 pounds), Joey Lazor (141) and returning All-American Ryan Loder (184) look to return to the national tournament this season. The Huskies trail the all-time series with the Panthers, 1-23-2, with their lone win coming in 1998.
Scouting North Dakota State
North Dakota State comes into the weekend with an 0-1 dual record, having lost to defending MAC champion Missouri, 23-9, on Nov. 1. The Bison have competed in open tournaments the last two weekends, placing 12 wrestlers at the Bison Open and another dozen at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open last weekend. NDSU’s headliners are 165-pounder Steven Monk and heavyweight Evan Knutson, both of whom advanced to the 2013 NCAA Championships and are expected by many to return to nationals this year. NIU owns a 2-1 series lead against the Bison, topping NDSU in 2006 and 2009.
Movin’ On Up
Sophomore Andrew Morse continued his impressive early season run last weekend by going 3-1 at the EMU Duals. As a result, he has now moved up to 18th at 157 pounds in the InterMat poll and 11th in the Amateur Wrestling News/ rankings. So far this year, the Alto, Mich., native is 12-4 with five bonus-point victories.
Home for the Holidays
This weekend’s home duals starts a stretch of four home meets of the next five events. Starting off with UNI and NDSU Saturday, the Huskies will also host Cleveland State (Dec. 5), Central Michigan (Dec. 21) and SIU Edwardsville (Jan. 4). Their only road trip during that timeframe won’t even be that far, as they go to Evanston, Ill., for the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30).
Up Next...
The Huskies continue with home duals in two weeks, as they host Cleveland State on Dec. 5. The meet begins at 7 p.m. inside Victor E. Court with a dual between Sycamore and Kaneland High School preceding that.
Northern Iowa:
Panthers Open Dual Season on the Road
UNI vs. Northern Illinois
Site: DeKalb, Ill.
Venue: Northern Illinois Convocation Center
Date: Saturday, Nov. 23
Time: 10 a.m.
Site: DeKalb, Ill.
Venue: Northern Illinois Convocation Center
Date: Saturday, Nov. 23
Time: noon
The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team opens its dual season at the Northern Duals against Northern Illinois and North Dakota State on the road Saturday.
UNI will face NIU at 10 a.m. and NDSU at noon.
The Panthers are ranked 17th in the nation and have a strong mix of veterans and young talent. In addition to All-American Ryan Loder at 184 pounds and returning NCAA qualifiers Joe Colon and Joey Lazor, the Panthers will start off the season with at least three key redshirt freshmen in the lineup.
Loder currently is ranked fifth among all Panthers for winning percentage. The first match of the season will be his 100th career win.
125: DYLAN PETERS – redshirt freshman (3-0); Denver, Iowa
Peters is ranked 12th in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News and ninth by Intermat. He started his season at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open with a championship, pinning his way to the title. He was on the mat for just more than five minutes all day. Last year as a freshman, he wrestled unattached at open tournaments and never lost by major decision, tech fall or pin and won three tourneys. His eight pins tied him for the most on the team. He was a three-time state champion in high school, losing just one match in his prep career.
133: JOE COLON – senior (4-0); Clear Lake, Iowa
Colon is ranked 10th in the nation by AWN and 9th by Intermat. He had to beat out teammate and returning NCAA national qualifier Levi Wolfensperger to win his first tournament of the season. He scored bonus points in all his matches at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. He did not compete with the Panthers last season, but was a NCAA qualifier the prior year. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the national championships. He was undefeated in duals in the Western Wrestling Conference in the 2011-12 season.
141: JOEY LAZOR – senior (0-0); McDonough, Ga.
Lazor is opening his season this weekend. After suffering some injuries, he redshirted his junior year and returned to finish just one round short of being an all-American at the national championships. He qualified automatically as the MAC champion by beating Northern Illinois’ Kevin Fanta 1-0 at the conference meet. He also beat Northern Illinois’ Tyler Argue 11-3 early in the Midlands Championships. Lazor went on to place seventh. Lazor is ranked 10th by AWN and ninth by Intermat.
141: ADAM PERRIN – sophomore (5-1); Eldridge, Iowa
Perrin notched three pins in his opening tournament to take third at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. He was fifth at the tournament last year. He never gave up bonus points last season.  
149: GUNNAR WOLFENSPERGER – sophomore (2-1); Denver, Iowa
Wolfensperger had a strong start to his season with a pin at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. He took second overall. He placed fifth at every tournament he competed in last season and never gave up bonus points.
157: JARRETT JENSEN – sophomore (4-0); Rapid City, S.D.
Jensen wrestled most of his freshman season in the 157-pound weight class before moving up to 165 last year for UNI. However, this year, he is back at 157 pounds and starting the season undefeated. Jensen is the first Panther to be named to the Academic All-MAC wrestling team with a 3.93 GPA in biology.
157: TAYLOR BERGER – sophomore (5-1); Mount Carmel, Iowa
Berger notched a tech fall and pin at his first tournament for the season to take third at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. He placed in both of the tournaments he competed in last year.
165: COOPER MOORE – redshirt freshman (4-0); Jackson, Minn.
Moore currently is ranked 15th by Amateur Wrestling News and Intermat after beating North Dakota State’s Steven Monk in his season opening invitational. Monk was ranked in the top five of both polls prior to his loss. Moore won two open tournaments last year when he wrestled unattached.
174: RILEY BANACH – senior (2-2); Ames, Iowa
Having wrestled at 165 pounds last year, Banach is trying his hand at 174 pounds. He took third at last years Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. Last year, Banach beat Northern Illinois’ Billy Chancey 15-7 at the Flash Flanagan Open. He was one of 10 student-athletes from the Missouri Valley Conference to be named to the winter selection for the MVC Leadership and Service Award (formerly the Good Neighbor Award).
174: CODY CALDWELL – sophomore (4-0); Waverly, Iowa
Caldwell is the second Panther to join the national rankings. Amateur Wrestling News puts him 18th in the nation, while Intermat ranks him 19th. He earned two tech falls in his first tournament. He beat North Dakota State’s Hayden Zillmer 4-1 to win his second Finn Grinaker Cobber Open championship. Caldwell placed seventh at the Cliff Keen Invite last season.
184: RYAN LODER – senior (0-0); Granite Bay, Calif.
Loder is UNI’s sole returning All-American. He placed seventh. Loder currently is fifth among all Panthers for winning percentage. The first match of the season will be his 100th career win. He has never given up bonus points or a dual match. He was third at the Cliff Keen Invite last season. Nationally, AWN ranks him third, and Intermat has him fourth in the nation.
197: JARED BARTEL – redshirt freshman (2-1); Mason City, Iowa
Bartel took second at his first tournament of the year, losing to teammate Basil Minto. He was third at the William Penn Open and fifth at the UNI Open last season.
197: BASIL MINTO – junior (3-0); Cape Coral, Fla.
Minto is a newcomer to the Panther team. He transferred from NIACC, where he placed fifth at the NJCAA national meet for two consecutive years. He beat out teammate Jared Bartel for his first title as a Panther. He notched one major decision at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open this year.
285: BLAIZE CABELL – sophomore (4-0); Henderson, Ky.
Cabell had a strong start to his season with a pin in the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open. He went on to win the tournament by beating North Dakota State’s Evan Knutson, 3-1. Cabell has moved into the 285-pound weight class after wrestling at 197 pounds for the last two years for the Panthers.
The series with NIU and UNI dates back to 1958, but the teams haven’t gone head to head since 2011. UNI leads the series 28-1-5 and won 23-15 the last time they met.
UNI won six matches when they visited North Dakota Feb. 3, 2013. The win made the overall series record 18-2-1 with NDSU.
This weekend will be a clash of old and new for Doug Schwab’s crew. It will be the Panthers’ first official Mid-American Conference dual against Northern Illinois, and the team will face a former Western Wrestling Conference foe in North Dakota State.
UNI moved to the MAC for the conference meet only last season and is implementing its first full MAC schedule this year. Missouri followed the same format, while Old Dominion held out of the conference meet but jumped into the MAC this season.
UNI is coming off a third-place finish at last year’s conference meet and currently is ranked fourth in the MAC behind Ohio, Missouri and Old Dominion.
Three Panthers lead the MAC rankings:
133 pounds: returning NCAA qualifier Levi Wolfensperger
141 pounds: returning NCAA qualifier Joey Lazor
184 pounds: All-American Ryan Loder
Since Schwab has taken over the UNI wrestling program in 2011, the Panthers have seen a big jump in NCAA national finishes. The team had placed as low as 46th but tied for 15th place last season.
Only one all-American was lost to graduation. The Panthers return four NCAA qualifiers in Colon, Lazor, Loder and Wolfensperger.
UNI will open its home season against Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Nov. 30. The Panthers are calling on fans to help flood Toys for Tots with donations. Tickets for the match are $5. Season tickets are still on sale for $29 online HERE or by calling (319) 273-4849.
Old Dominion:
Monarchs Set to Host No. 16 Iowa State on Sunday, and No. 8 Virginia Tech on Tuesday
NORFOLK, Va.- The Old Dominion Monarchs wrestling team will host the No. 16 Iowa State Cyclones on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 1:00 p.m. and then host No. 8 Virginia Tech Hokies on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
The Monarchs come into this match with a 2-1 dual meet record. Their two wins came against two ranked opponents in the Hokie Duals. ODU defeated North Carolina, 25-6 and improved to 2-1 with a 20-19 win over Wisconsin in Salem, Va. Old Dominion competed in two open tournaments throughout this season, in which ODU had 11 wrestlers place at the NC State Wolfpack Open and four guys placed at the Citadel Open.
ODU is led by their four nationally ranked wrestlers: No. 9 Chris Mecate (141), No. 16 Alexander Richardson (149), No. 18 Jack Dechow (184) and No. 19 Tristan Warner (157) (polls by AWN and Intermat).
The Cyclones of Iowa State are 4-0 after defeating Drexel, Grand View, Midland and West Virginia. Last week Iowa State competed in the Cyclone Open and had 12 wrestlers place.
Iowa State redshirt junior Michael Moreno (165) is ranked No. 3 in both the Intermat and AWN polls. Redshirt junior Kyven Gadson (197) is also ranked No. 3 and redshirt sophomore Tanner Weatherman (174) is ranked No. 10 in both polls.
No. 8 Virginia Tech enters this weekend 7-0 after defeating Hofstra, Kent State, Chattanooga, VMI, No. 9 Edinboro, American, Manchester University.
The Hokies (7-0, 0-0 ACC) are led by No. 3 Devin Carter at 141 pounds and No. 5 Zach Neibert at 149 pounds. Carter is 7-0 on the season and Neibert is 4-1 after a loss to Edinboro’s No. 11 David Habat. VT takes on No. 15 Virginia on Sunday from Charlottesville.
Check out the Free Socials before both the Iowa State and Virginia Tech matches! Sunday’s social begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Big Blue Room at the TED Constant Center. Tuesday’s social begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Big Blue Room at the TED Constant Center. Admission to both socials requires a ticket to the match.
The match against Iowa State features a spirit contest! The most spirited organization will receive a $200 donation towards their chosen organization.