Here is a look at this weekend's MAC wrestling action.
Buffalo will host Northern Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1 pm ET in the regular season finale.
The Chippewas head to the west coast with a stop at Stanford at 3 pm on Saturday, Feb. 16 before a visit with Cal Poly and CSU Bakersfield on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1 pm and 3 pm respectfully.
Eastern Michigan Wrestling Completes Regular Season Sunday vs. Iowa State
Eagles host No. 22 Cyclones at 1 p.m. inside Bowen Field House
YPSILANTI, Mich. – The 2012-13 regular season draws to a close Sunday, Feb. 17, when the Eastern Michigan University wrestling team hosts Iowa State at Bowen Field House. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. EMU is 2-3 in home matches this season, having beaten Cleveland State, Nov. 30, and Olivet, Jan. 16.
Iowa State enters the contest with a 7-4 record and a 1-2 mark in Big 12 action while holding down the No. 22 ranking nationally. ISU brings five nationally-ranked wrestlers to town including Kyven Gadson, who ranks seventh at 197 lbs. The Cyclones will trek to East Lansing, Mich. to face Michigan State Friday, Feb. 15, before swinging back down to Ypsilanti.
THE LESSON IN ALL THIS: The 2012-13 season has thrown a variety of unexpected challenges in the face of the EMU wrestling squad. Above all, injuries have played a big part in keeping the Eagles from registering a few more wins on the year. Head Coach Derek DelPorto has taken the opportunity to teach his team a valuable lesson in perseverance.
“We made strides as a team,” DelPorto remarked, “mostly dealing with adversity and learning that no matter where you are on the roster, you must train like you will be needed tomorrow. It wasn't ever about our record. We cannot measure our success on just wins and losses. We never, not once, put the starting 10 guys out on the mat at the same time.”
SULZER HAULS IN SCHOLAR ATHLETE AWARD: Redshirt senior wrestler Aaron Sulzer was named the MAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Week, the league office announced Friday, Feb. 8. Sulzer becomes the first EMU grappler to earn honor this season and has now received the distinction in back-to-back years.
Sulzer's match against Kent State's Tom Sasfy Friday, Feb. 1, began as a closely-contested affair . In the second period with the match 1-0 in favor of Sulzer, the Cleveland, Ohio native pulled off a quick attack on Sasfy and pinned him to the mat at the 3:37 mark.
Since 2008, Sulzer has racked up 85 career victories–the fifth-highest win total in the history of the program. He also received MAC Wrestler of the Week accolades this season for the period ending Dec. 9. In the classroom, Sulzer carries a 3.8 GPA and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration.
ABRO TAKING ON THE BIG BOYS: It has been a learning experience over the last two weeks for redshirt freshman Anthony Abro. Abro has taken on No. 1 Dustin Kilgore from Kent State and No. 5 Jarod Trice from Central Michigan. Kilgore, a 197-pounder, handed Abro a technical fall loss, but that experience helped the Canton, Mich. native hold Trice off the scoreboard for 6:49 of the 285 lbs. bout against CMU.
Sunday against ISU, Abro is scheduled to take on No. 17 Boaz Beard in the 184 lbs. bout.
MAYBE NEXT TIME: The 11-time defending MAC Champion Central Michigan Chippewas once again showed why they are the team to beat in the conference championship this season when they handed the Eagles a 31-6 setback Friday evening, Feb. 8, in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Redshirt junior Nick Whitenburg posted the lone victory of the evening for the Eagles, pinning Jackson Lewis at the 1:16 mark of the 197 lbs. bout. Whitenburg's victory earned him is third straight MAC triumph and pushed his season record to 7-6.
“To come back from an injury the way Nick has and to get refocused and win like he has been doing is impressive,” said Head Coach Derek DelPorto. “He still has a long way to go, but after the Iowa State match, all we will think about is getting our guys rested and ready for the MAC Championships.”
UNBLEMISHED: Redshirt senior Aaron Sulzer and redshirt junior Nick Whitenburg each finished the MAC season with undefeated records. Sulzer went 4-0 at 157 lbs., while Whitenburg stormed back from an injury earlier in the year to go 3-0 at 197 lbs. Both grapplers have their eyes set on a MAC individual title.
REGULAR SEASON RECAP: Eastern Michigan has taken on six nationally-ranked opponents (not including Iowa State) and has posted a 1-5 record against those teams. The Green and White edged out No. 24 North Dakota State, 18-17, Nov. 24, at the NDSU Quad.
EMU is 2-3 inside the confines of Bowen Field House this year with victories over Cleveland State, Nov. 30, and Olivet, Jan. 16. On Dec. 16, the Eagles wrestled Big Ten foe Indiana to an 18-18 tie, but the Hoosiers were awarded the win thanks to new NCAA tiebreaking rules.
MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS ON THE HORIZON: The 2013 MAC Championships will be held Sunday, March 10, on the campus of the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y. The Eagles last claimed a MAC Tournament title in the 1995-96 campaign after going 1-4 in regular-season conference matches.
For Derek DelPorto's squad, the focus now turns to peaking at the right time for a postseason run. “I think we are progressing well,” said DelPorto. “I believe we will be in great shape for the MAC Tournament, which is our ultimate goal at this point in the season.”
Mat Mayhem Coming to the M.A.C. Center
Oklahoma State, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa will join Kent State for the biggest one-day wrestling event the M.A.C. Center has ever hosted...the National Wrestling Coaches Association/Cliff Keen National Duals Regional...aka Mat Mayhem. On Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m., two mats will go at the same time as the four teams will compete in a dual tournament. The winner advances to an eight-team championship dual tournament Feb. 22-23 at Minnesota's Williams Arena.
Pre-Sale Ticket Prices: Chairback $20.00; Lower Reserve $15.00/$10.00; General Admission Baseline $8.00/$5.00 Group; General Admission Upper Level $5.00.
Day of Prices: Chairback $25.00; Lower Reserve $20.00; General Admission Baseline $10.00; General Admission Upper Level $5.00.
In the opening round, No. 1 Oklahoma State will take on host Kent State. No. 18 Wisconsin will battle No. 24 Northern Iowa. Regional championship and third place duals are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. A tape delay broadcast of the event can be seen on Fox College Sports and locally on Cable 9.
Flashes Host No. 1 Oklahoma State Sunday as Part of NWCA Regional
Kent, Ohio will be one of four regional sites this weekend for the NWCA National Duals. In the opening round of the four-team dual tournament, Kent State (9-5) will take on No. 1 Oklahoma State (13-0). Also at 1 p.m., Sunday in the M.A.C. Center, No. 18 Wisconsin (7-6) will battle No. 24 Northern Iowa (8-4). The Regional championship round will follow at 3 p.m. The winner advances to an eight-team championship dual tournament Feb. 22-23 at Minnesota.
Live audio of both Kent State duals can be heard on Golden Flashes Radio on iHeartRadio. Live video can be seen on FloWrestling, while live scoring can be viewed on Trackwrestling.
In this week's rankings, Kent State is No. 20 according to Wrestling Report.com, No. 21 according to InterMat and No. 20 in Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine's Tournament Power Index. In this week Coaches' Panel, six Flashes are ranked in the Top 33.
Dual Success: Over the past eight seasons, Kent State has gone 108-36-1 in dual meets, despite facing a number of ranked opponents throughout each season.
The Golden Flashes locked up a top two finish in the MAC standings for an eighth consecutive season. Since the 2005-06 season, Kent State has gone 33-6-1 in MAC duals, including a 9-1 mark since last year. During that time, the Golden Flashes have not lost a MAC dual to a team other than Central Michigan, going 31-0-1 against the combination of Northern Illinois, Buffalo, Ohio and Eastern Michigan.
Never Count Them Out: Two weeks ago at Eastern Michigan, Kent State trailed 15-6 with five matches remaining, before rallying for five straight wins and a 24-15 team victory. Two days later, the Flashes put together an even more impressive comeback at Buffalo. Trailing 19-3 after six bouts, Kent State strung together four straight victories with bonus points in three matches on the way to a 22-19 win. Last weekend at Edinboro, the Flashes trailed 17-4, before storming back to take a 19-17 lead. An overtime match at heavyweight gave the Fighting Scots a 20-19 victory.
Rare Meetings: Kent State will be meeting Oklahoma State for just the second time in program history. The Cowboys earned a 37-6 win in 2006. The Golden Flashes have never faced Northern Iowa and have not taken on Wisconsin since 2004. The Badgers lead the all-time series with the Flashes 3-1 and will visit Kent for the first time since 1938.
The Competition: Oklahoma State advanced to the NWCA Championship finals last season, falling to Minnesota 18-13. Since then, the Cowboys have won 14 straight dual meets and placed sixth at last year's NCAA Championships. Wisconsin defeated Northern Iowa 24-13 back in November. The Badgers have defeated three ranked opponents this year, including Michigan and Nebraska. In the last month, Northern Iowa has earned dual victories over Oklahoma, Northwestern and North Dakota State. Six Panthers are ranked in this week's Coaches Panel.
Weight-By-Weight: Individual rankings based on Feb. 14 Coaches Panel
-Kent State No. 25 Stevie Mitcheff (24-10) is 9-4 in dual meets. Mitcheff has won tournament titles at the Navy Classic and the Brute Invitational and has seven bonus-point victories on the year.
-Oklahoma State No. 31 Eddie Kilmara (22-1)
-Wisconsin Matt Cavallaris (3-15)
-Northern Iowa Ryan Jauch (4-7)
-Kent State No. 30 Mack McGuire (21-15) is 7-5 in dual meets since taking over the starting role in January. McGuire has placed in the top six at three tournaments and has seven bonus-point victories on the year.
-Oklahoma State No. 6 Jon Morrison (17-4)
-Wisconsin No. 4 Tyler Graff (22-3)
-Northern Iowa No. 10 Levi Wolfensperger (20-6)
-Kent State Luke Kern (8-20) has four pins on the year.
-Oklahoma State No. 32 Julian Feikert (15-13)
-Wisconsin Tom Kelliher (10-13)
-Northern Iowa No. 15 Joey Lazor (26-7)
-Kent State Andy Candiello (8-13) has returned to the starting lineup after starting the year at 141.
-Oklahoma State No. 1 Jordan Oliver (23-0) is a three-time All-American and 2011 NCAA champion.
-Wisconsin Cole Schmitt (7-9)
-Northern Iowa No. 29 Bart Reiter (10-4)
-Kent State Tommy Sasfy (13-15) has three dual meet victories after taking over the starting role in January, including a win against Cleveland State last weekend. Sasfy has placed in the top six at two tournaments this season.
-Oklahoma State No. 9 Alex Dieringer (21-2)
-Wisconsin Kalvin York (5-11)
-Northern Iowa No. 20 David Bonin (21-5)
-Kent State No. 32 Caleb Marsh (19-7) is 9-4 in dual meets after a pair of wins last weekend. Marsh earned a tournament title at the Navy Classic and placed second at the Brute Invitational.
-Oklahoma State No. 3 Tyler Caldwell (21-3) is a two-time All-American and was an NCAA runner-up in 2011.
-Wisconsin Frank Cousins (7-10)
-Northern Iowa Jarrett Jensen (14-12)
-Kent State No. 27 Sam Wheeler (23-9) has won his last six matches, including a tech fall against Cleveland State last weekend. During that span, he's also defeated No. 21 Craig Kelliher (Central Michigan) and No. 18 John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo).
-Oklahoma State No. 2 Chris Perry (22-1) placed third at NCAA Championships last season.
-Wisconsin No. 26 Scott Liegel (13-13)
-Northern Iowa No. 23 Cody Caldwell (24-7)
-Kent State No. 16 Casey Newburg (31-5) ranks sixth among Division I wrestler in technical falls with six. Newburg is in sixth place on Kent State's career win list with 116. He has won four tournament titles this season and is 11-3 in dual meets. Newburg has 14 bonus-point victories.
-Oklahoma State No. 11 Chris Chionuma (19-6)
-Wisconsin Ben Cox (0-10)
-Northern Iowa No. 6 Ryan Loder
-Kent State No. 1 Dustin Kilgore (34-0) has 27 bonus-point victories and ranks second in the NCAA's Most Dominant Wrestler standings. His 16 pins lead the nation and is one pin shy of Jim Swetter's Kent State single-season record. Kilgore broke the school's career record for pins and recently raised his total to 48. The Flashes' career-victory leader (169) extended his NCAA winning streak to 53. The 2011 MAC Wrestler of the Year also carries a 63-match winning streak in dual meets. In career MAC duals, Kilgore finished 20-0 with nine pins. Kilgore has already defeated three opponents currently ranked in the Top 10 spots: Jake Meredith (Arizona State), Matt Wilps (Pitt) and Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming).
-Oklahoma State No. 9 Blake Rosholt (9-3)
-Wisconsin No. 18 Jackson Hein (16-7)
-Northern Iowa Blaize Cabell (10-10)
-Kent State Keith Witt (15-14) is ranked No. 28 according to WrestlingReport.com. Witt has been a finalist at two tournaments this season.
-Oklahoma State No. 3 Alan Gelogaev (16-2) was 24-0 last year, before a season-ending injury.
-Wisconsin No. 10 Connor Medbery (20-4)
-Northern Iowa Blayne Beale (13-7)
Missouri will host the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals and battle Maryland on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 10 am CT. Also involved will be Wyoming vs. Purdue.
Northern Illinois Preps for Buffalo Saturday
NIU closes out MAC slate in western New York
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois wrestling team heads east this weekend when they battle Buffalo in both schools’ MAC finale. The meet between the Huskies and Bulls starts at noon CT inside UB’s Alumni Arena.
“We need to have all ten guys compete for themselves and for the team,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Dual meet scores come down to some unsung heroics at times, so everyone will need to do his part.”
NIU enters Saturday’s dual with a 7-8 record overall and a 0-4 mark in MAC action. The Huskies will look to put an end to their five-match losing streak after falling to Big Ten foe Northwestern on Feb. 8. Rob Jillard earned his third pin of the season during the match by sticking NU’s Dylan Marriott in the first period at 149 pounds.
For Buffalo, they come into the weekend with a 1-9 overall record and 1-3 record within the conference. The Bulls are paced on the mats by the nationally-ranked duo of Mark Lewandowski (12th – 165) and John-Martin Cannon (18th – 174). UB’s lineup also features 2012 NCAA qualifier Max Soria wrestling at 125.
Saturday marks the 14th all-time meeting between NIU and UB. The Huskies hold an 8-5 advantage in the series. However, the Bulls have prevailed in the last three meetings between the two schools. The last Northern win against Buffalo came on Feb. 21, 2009, when NIU emerged with a 21-15 victory in western New York.
The dual against Buffalo is also the Huskies’ first road meet since heading to Edwardsville, Ill., on Jan. 6. After having been at home for over a month, Ludwig and the team are excited to get back on the road.
“We are looking forward to getting on the road,” Ludwig said. “It has been a while and the guys are excited to travel. I think it will offer us some fresh air in terms of routine.”
Fans can follow along with the action online at TrackWrestling.com.
Northern Illinois Huskies
125: Derek Elmore OR Nick Harrison
133: Nick Smith
141: Kevin Fanta
149: Rob Jillard
157: Andrew Morse
165: Dan Burk OR Sam Bennett
174: Matt Mougin
184: Bryan Loughlin
197: Parker Settecase OR Arber Bebo
285: Jared Torrence
125: Max Soria
133: Justin Farmer OR Erik Galloway
141: Erik Galloway OR Andrew Schutt
149: Blake Ruolo
157: Wally Maziarz
165: #12 Mark Lewandowski
174: #18 John-Martin Cannon
184: Dominic Montesanti OR Jeff Palmeri
197: Jeff Palmeri OR Jarred Lux
285: Justin Heiserman OR Jedd Mason
History against the Bulls: Saturday marks the 14th time that Northern Illinois and Buffalo have met on the mat, with NIU holding an 8-5 advantage against UB since their first meeting on Jan. 3, 2000. The Bulls have won the last two meetings between the three teams. Yet, the Huskies won eight straight versus UB from 2001-02 through 2008-09. The last Northern win against the Bulls came on Feb. 21, 2009, when NIU emerged with a 21-15 victory in western New York.
Jillard Grabs Win No. 30: NIU junior Rob Jillard earned his 30th career win as a Huskie Feb. 8 by way of his first period pin against Northwestern’s Dylan Marriott. The Franklinville, N.J., native also tied his win total from a season ago, when he went 15-16 in his first season at Northern. Including his one season at Liberty, Jillard has posted 50 wins in his nearly three seasons in college wrestling.
Lots of Braun: Though he may be taking a redshirt season, it is hard to overlook freshman Braun Marquez’s numbers this season. While wrestling in open tournaments, the Amarillo, Texas, native has compiled a 22-8 record with five major decisions, three pins and a technical fall. Marquez has placed in four tournaments, including a first place finish at the Harper Open Feb. 2 and a second place showing at the Flash Flanagan Open Jan. 12.
Loughlin’s Longevity: Despite coming in as a true freshman this season, Bryan Loughlin has proven to be a mainstay in the Huskie dual lineup. Through 15 duals this season, the East Rutherford, N.J., native has started at 184 pounds in every meet this season. In fact, the only competition that Loughlin has missed all season was the Kaufman-Brand Open Dec. 1.
Changing Lineups: NIU’s lineup has been in a fluid state all season. In Friday’s dual against Northwestern, the team used their ninth different lineup in 15 duals this season. In fact, no one lineup has been used more than four times during the season.
Up Next: The Huskies close the book on their 2012-13 regular season Sunday, Feb. 24, when they travel to Cleveland, Ohio, to face Cleveland State and Gardner-Webb.
No. 24 UNI Wrestling Gets Second Shot at Wisconsin in NWCA National Duals
MANHEIM, Pa. – The University of Northern Iowa wrestling team is seeded third and will face No. 18 Wisconsin in the first round of the 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Meet Championships Saturday.
There are four regional competitions on Feb. 17. The winners of the four regions will advance to the championship final that will take place Feb. 22-23 at the University of Minnesota. They will join the four teams (No. 8 Illinois, No. 2 Iowa, No. 4 Minnesota and No. 5 Ohio State) that received automatic bids to the final.
UNI will compete against Wisconsin at 1 p.m. ET. The Panthers will face either No. 1. Oklahoma State or Kent State, seeded fourth, in the last round at 3 p.m. ET.
WISCONSIN VS. UNI: Wisconsin beat No. 24 UNI in the Panthers’ first dual of the season, 24-13. However, the Panthers’ lineup will look drastically different at this second meeting of the year.
UNI has since filled its 125-pound position with senior Ryan Jauch. The Panthers forfeited that weight at the November dual. After wrestling the last couple of years at a heavier weight, Jauch has moved down to fill the spot for UNI.
Injuries slowed three Panthers’ starts to the season. Bart Reiter at 149 pounds, Ryan Loder at 184 pounds and heavyweight Blayne Beale were not competing for the team when UNI faced Wisconsin. Blaize Cabell also has entered the lineup a couple of times for the UNI since the Wisconsin meet.
The Badgers are coming off a recent 34-5 loss to No. 4 Minnesota with a similar lineup used when wrestling UNI.
Tyler Graff, who pinned UNI’s 141-pound Joey Lazor, wrestled at 133 pounds against Minnesota and currently is ranked at that weight. UNI’s Levi Wolfensperger beat Wisconsin’s Tom Kelliher, 6-4, in overtime at the 133-pound weight class. Kelliher wrestled at 141 pounds last weekend.
Wrestlers from both teams have entered the rankings since the teams last met.
For UNI (8-4):
• 133 – Levi Wolfensperger 10th
• 141 – Joey Lazor 13th
• 157 – David Bonin 19th
• 184 – Ryan Loder 8th
For Wisconsin (7-6):
• 133 – Tyler Graff (who has competed at 141 pounds) 6th
• 197 – Jackson Hein 16th
• 285 – Connor Medbery 9th
OKLAHOMA STATE/KENT STATE: With the top ranking in the nation and eight nationally ranked wrestlers, Oklahoma State (13-0) is pegged as the team to beat this weekend. The team is coming off a 25-9 win over No. 22 Iowa State. Cornell and Minnesota have been the two teams closest to beating the Cowboys. Minnesota lost 22-15, and Cornell was defeated 21-16.
For Oklahoma State:
• 133 – Jon Morrison 5th
• 149 – Jordan Oliver 1st
• 157 – Alex Deringer 9th
• 165 – Tyler Caldwell 3rd
• 174 – Chris Perry 2nd
• 184 – Chris Chiohuma 12th
• 197 – Blake Rosholt 11th
• 285 – Alan Gelogaer 3rd
Kent State is ranked fourth, just one spot behind UNI, in the Mid-American Conference. They have three nationally ranked wrestlers. In addition, Caleb Marsh is ranked fourth in the conference at 165 pounds.
For Kent State:
• 125 - Steve Mitcheff 16th
• 184 - Casey Newburg 15th
• 197 – Dustin Kilgore 1st
OTHER REGIONS: Missouri will be the first region to begin competition as they start at 10 a.m. CST, while all other regions will begin at 1 p.m. in their respective time zones.
1. Missouri – No. 6 Tigers will face fourth-seeded Maryland in the first round. No. 16 Purdue and No. 20 Wyoming come in as the second and third seeds and will face off for a spot in the finals of the region.
2. Cornell - Three competing teams are ranked in the top 15 of the new USA Today/AWN Division I Coaches Poll. No. 11 Virginia and No. 13 Nebraska come in as the second and third seeds. Hofstra, seeded fourth, will face No. 10 Cornell in the first round.
3. Oregon State – Two teams are in the top 10 of the new coaches poll. The Virginia Tech Hokies, ranked seventh, will face No. 25 Oklahoma in the first found. Host No. 9 Oregon State will match up against No. 19 Michigan.
The Bobcats will travel to Campbell in Durham, N.C. on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 pm ET.