MAC Wrestling Weekend Preview - Nov. 8th

Updated 11/8/2013

Here is a preview of this weekend's MAC Wrestling action.

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo wrestling team opens up their 2013-14 campaign on the road Saturday at the Oklahoma Gold Classic in Brockport, NY. This season marks the 15th season of the invitational as the Bulls will be joined by Oklahoma University, The College at Brockport, Bloomsburg University, Army and American University. 
A young and talented UB wrestling team took its lumps last season after leaning heavily on a starting lineup that consisted of multiple wrestlers who were sophomores or younger. Now coming back to the team will be six starters from last year with a season of experience under their belt and a feeling that there's something still to prove. Joining them will be one returning national qualifier - redshirt junior Max Soria. Soria accumulated 25 victories last season including one NCAA Tournament victory and this year he will look to help the team climb back into the national focus. 
The Bulls program will also welcome a completely new coaching staff for the 2013-14 season as former Bull standout John Stutzman takes over the reigns at Buffalo. After eight seasons developing Bloomsburg into a national power, Stutzman has been hired as the 15th coach in the 79-year-history of the program. Joining Stutzman at Buffalo are Bryce Hasseman, Quincy Osborn and former Bull great John-Martin Cannon.
Stutzman guided the Huskies to a record of 97-56-1 in his eight seasons, putting him third all-time in career wins. The team finished with double-digit wins in six of his eight seasons as head coach. He has coached three NCAA Division I All-Americans, eight Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) champions, 76 EWL place winners and 33 NCAA Division I national qualifiers.
Andrew Schutt returns to the Bulls for his senior season as the active winningest wrestler on the team with 48 career victories. Schutt entered last year with high expectations and the same will be placed on his plate this year following a junior season that saw him collect nine wins. Schutt's 2012-13 campaign was highlighted by a second place finish at the New York State Intercollegiate Championships, finishing with three wins and one loss. 
Two other Buffalo wrestlers that will be relied on this season to perform at a high level are a pair of redshirt juniors in Wally Maziarz and Angelo Malvestuto. Maziarz has continued to improve each and every year on campus and the coaching staff believes he will have his best season yet as a junior, following a sophomore campaign that had him rank third on the team with 23 wins. Malvestuto seemed to settle down last year in his first season after transferring from Virginia Tech as he produced 12 big victories for the Bulls.
The Bulls are ready to come out charging after a very disappointing season last year, and with coach John Stutzman saying that he sees improvement at all classes of the team, the Bulls hope a successful postseason is in the cards for their wrestling program.
Eastern Michigan:
YPSILANTI, Mich. – Eastern Michigan kicks off its 2013-14 regular season as it travels to East Lansing, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 9, to compete in the MSU Open for the ninth consecutive year.
The open will consist of a freshman/sophomore division and an open division which will run simultaneously, starting at 9 a.m. The tournament will be a double elimination event with no team scores.
After compiling a 7-13 overall record and a 1-4 record in the Mid-American Conference, which placed them in a tie for fourth, the Eastern Michigan University wrestling squad will look to improve in the 2013-14 season, returning two NCAA Championship qualifiers and bringing some youth into the starting lineup.
This season, eighth year Head Coach Derek DelPorto's team looks to build upon the success of three placewinners from the 2013 MAC Championships and a duo of wrestlers that competed in the 2013 NCAA Championships.
The Eagles open up their 2013 campaign when they travel to Michigan State for the MSU Open,  Nov. 9 before hosting the 22nd-annual EMU Open on Nov. 16. The EMU Open marks the first-of-five home meets as the dual meet season gets underway when they Eagles travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, Nov. 21.
With a record of 72-68-2 at EMU, DelPorto is second all-time in wins (72) at EMU passing Russell Bush's 66 wins in the 2012-13 season. He is just eight wins behind John Eisley's 80 victories from 1979-91. Additionally, his all-time winning percentage of .537 is good for the highest mark among the eight head coaches in the history of EMU.
Eastern Michigan senior wrestlers earned top-four seeds in three weight classes in the MAC preseason poll as Nick Whitenburg (Temperance, Mich.-Bedford) was selected second at 197 lbs., Phillip Joseph (Lapeer, Mich.-Lapeer East) was ranked third at 184 lbs. and Jared Germaine (Saginaw, Mich.-Saginaw Valley) tied for fourth at 125 lbs.
125 lbs:  The Eagles return Germaine for one final season in the 125 lb. weight class, compiling a 17-10 overall record after suffering an injury that sidelined him for half of the 2012-13 season. The redshirt-senior posted an 8-6 record in dual meets and a 1-0 mark in the MAC before making his way back to the MAC Championships for the second time, where he went 1-3.
133 lbs:  Sophomore Vincent Pizzuto (North Jackson, Ohio-Jackson Milton) returns to the mats after having a breakout season at 133 lbs. for the Eagles, being named to the Academic All-MAC Honorable Mention list. Pizzuto posted a 12-13 overall record and was able to recover from a mid-season injury to participate in the MAC Championships for the first time, where he went 1-3 with a victory over Buffalo and tied for fifth place.
141 lbs:  Redshirt-freshman Nicholas Barber (Cleveland, Ohio-St. Edward) will look to get the start in the 141 lbs. weight class after having a breakout season last year. The Cleveland, Ohio native posted a 20-6 overall record, recording the highest win percentage on the team.
149 lbs:  Redshirt-senior Seth Schaner (Big Rapids, Mich.-Big Rapids) will headline at 149 lbs. where he posted a 7-15 overall record, including a 4-11 record in dual meets and a 2-3 mark in MAC matches. The Big Rapids, Mich. native earned conference victories against Ohio and Kent State as well as participating in the MAC Championship for the Eagles.
157 lbs:  The Eagles look to replace Aaron Sulzer who finished fourth at the MAC Championships and posted an 18-12 overall record in his senior campaign, while going on a three-match win streak against MAC opponents late in the season. Transfer Brandon Zeerip (Fremont, Mich.-Hesperia) will look to get the start at the 157 lbs. weight class after having a successful two-year career at the University of Michigan. The redshirt-senior earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors once and was a two year starter for the Wolverines.
165 lbs:  In his first season as an Eagle, Jacob Davis (North Ridgeville, Ohio-St. Edward) posted an 18-13 overall record with a 5-9 ledger in dual meets. The sophomore kicked off his freshman season with a first-place finish at the EMU Open and represented the Green and White at the MAC Championships.
174 lbs:   After dropping one weight class, junior Mike Curby (Osseo, Mich.-Hillsdale) posted a 4-12 overall record and a 1-6 record in dual meets in the 174 lb. weight class. The Osseo, Mich. native won two matches by fall and two by decision, while also wrestling in one MAC match.
184 lbs:  Joseph will headline the 184 lbs. weight class in his senior campaign after going up a weight class and appearing in his second NCAA Championship just a year ago. The Lapeer, Mich. native boasted an 18-15 overall record as a junior and a team-best 15 wins in dual meets. Joseph posted a 3-1 mark in MAC matches, while claiming a fourth-place finish and an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships after going 2-2 at the MAC Championships. The senior captured one victory at the NCAA Championships, posting a 1-2 record.
194 lbs:  Whitenburg will earn the starting slot at 194 lbs. for the third straight season after coming back from an injury early in the 2012-13 season and making his first NCAA Championship appearance for the Eagles. Whitenburg finished second on the team with eight pins, earning an 18-12 overall record and a 9-6 record in dual meets. The Temperance, Mich. native boasted a perfect 3-0 record in MAC competition and went 3-1 at the MAC Championships to claim a third-place finish.
HWT:  A spot opens up in the heavyweight division as Eastern will look to replace Chris Eggert who had suffered through injuries in his career as an Eagle and posted a 4-11 record in his senior campaign.  Senior Khodor Hoballah (Dearborn, Mich.-Dearborn) will get his first full year as a starter, headlining the heavyweights. The Dearborn, Mich.native participated in the MAC Championships a year ago, posting a 1-3 record and an 8-13 overall record.
The 2013-14 season marks the first season that Missouri University, University of Northern  Iowa and Old Dominion University will be joining the MAC as affiliate members in a five-year agreement. Missouri and Northern Iowa competed in the MAC Championships last season, as Missouri claimed the crown with 136 points and Northern Iowa finished in third, just five points behind Central Michigan who garnered second with 88 points. Old Dominion will start participation in MAC competition in the 2013-14 season as they did not compete in the Championships last season.
Eastern will compete in the 2014 MAC Tournament, March 9 at Kent State University. The Eagles are looking for thier first individual MAC Champion since John McClure in 2009 and the first team title since the 1995-96 campaign. The Eagles wrestling squad ranked eighth overall among nine teams in the 2013-14 preseason polls with Ohio University taking the first-place ranking, compiling 19 points. 
Northern Illinois:
DeKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University wrestling team continues with tournament action Saturday at Michigan State, when they take part in the MSU Open in East Lansing, Mich.  The action starts at 8 a.m. CT inside MSU’s Jenison Fieldhouse.
"We are heading into another outstanding day of competition,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “The MSU Open has a rich tradition of gathering some of the best wrestlers from the Great Lakes area and beyond. We have spent the week working on details and making strategic improvements and our efforts will be focused on translating the practice room details to the live competition setting this weekend."
After putting nine Huskies on the podium last weekend, NIU will face quite a daunting task this weekend. In addition to Big Ten foes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue, the Huskies will also go head-to-head with wrestlers from Pittsburgh, Columbia, Edinboro, Navy and Bucknell, in addition to MAC rivals Central, Eastern Michigan, Kent State and Ohio.
In total, NIU will send 20 wrestlers – 14 attached, six unattached – between the open and fresh/soph classes to East Lansing.  Live results will also be available on
Saturday’s Competitors (By Weight)
125: Nick Harrison, Braun Marquez, Derek Elmore*
133: Jordan Northrup*
141: Tyler Argue, Sal Annoreno*, Mason Cleaver*, Colin Dolata*
149: None
157: Andrew Morse, Matt Smith
165: Sam Bennett, Trace Engelkes
174: Billy Chancey
184: Caleb Busson, Shane Rosenberry
197: Shawn Scott, Parker Settecase
285: Arthur Bunce, Jared Torrence, Jake Cochrane*
*Competing unattached
Scouting the Field:  After opening the season in South Dakota, the Huskies head east for a stern challenge at the MSU Open. Of the 25 teams slated to compete, 17 are Division I members, including Big Ten foes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue. In addition, four MAC rivals – Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State and Ohio - are in the field, along with East Coast powers Edinboro, Pittsburgh, Columbia, Navy and Bucknell.
Cloud Nine:  NIU came out of the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open Sunday with nine placewinners. Tops among that group were second-place finishers Jordan Northrup (133 - unattached) and Shawn Scott (197). Meanwhile, Kevin Fanta took fourth at 141, along with Andrew Morse (157 pounds) and Jared Torrence (285) each taking fifth place at their respective weights.
Morse Code:  Twin brothers Andrew and Gabe Morse each had promising results last weekend at South Dakota State. Andrew ended up in fifth place at 157 pounds, but tallied four bonus-point wins - two major decisions, one pin and one technical fall - among his five victories. Conversely, Gabe went 2-2, but opened the tournament with back-to-back wins at 149 pounds, including a major decision.
Homecoming Weekends:  With each of the next two meets in the state of Michigan, seven Huskies - Arthur Bunce (Munith), Mason Cleaver (Holly), Andrew Morse (Alto), Gabe Morse (Alto), Shawn Scott (Holly), Matt Smith (Paw Paw) and Nick Smith (Ida) will get the opportunity to compete once again in their home state. In fact, Michigan is the second-most represented state on the NIU roster, trailing only Illinois.
A Full Month:  November will be quite busy for the Huskies, as they will compete in two tournaments and six dual matches across four weekends. After tournaments the first two weekends, NIU will take on Michigan, Oregon State, Clarion and Findlay at the EMU Duals, then follow that with Northern Iowa and North Dakota State at home.
Up Next:  The Huskies get their first dual action of the year, as they face Michigan, Oregon State, Clarion and Findlay in the EMU Duals Saturday in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Old Dominion:
NORFOLK, Va. - The No. 22 Old Dominion University wrestling team will open their dual season on Sunday, Nov. 10 in Salem, Va. for the Hokie Duals.
The tournament is being hosted by Virginia Tech in the Salem Civic Center. ODU opens at 9 a.m. against Rider, continues at 11 a.m. against No. 23 North Carolina and concludes at 1 p.m. against No. 12 Wisconsin.
Teams participating in the Hokie Duals include: VT, Kent State, Rider, UNC, Wisconsin, UVA, VMI, UTC, Hofstra and ODU. All matches begin at 9 a.m.
The Monarchs have been preseason ranked No. 22 by the poll. This will be the first dual action that ODU competes as a member of the MAC conference.
Freshman Brandon Jeske (125) recently won the Citadel Open with five wins and will make his first dual appearance.
Scott Festejo (133) went 23-15 last year. Festejo starts his senior season after qualifying for NCAA's two years ago. He finished tied for second-most major decisions on the team with five and went 5-0 in CAA dual action.
Redshirt sophomore Chris Mecate (141) is ranked No. 9 by the AWN and finished last season 37-9. Mecate qualified for the NCAA Championships last season and went 7-0 in CAA action.
Alexander Richardson (149) returns after qualifying for the NCAA's last year as a true freshman. He went 29-15 and took second at the CAA championships. He is ranked No. 16 by Intermat.
Tristan Warner (157) is ranked No. 19 by Intermat and returns to the mat after not competing last season due to an injury. Warner qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships and went 27-16 that year.
Redshirt Senior Billy Curling (174) qualifed for the NCAA Championships last year after winning the CAA crown at 174. He went 21-12 last year and went undefeated in conference action.