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Seven Monarchs Place at Michigan State Open

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: November 11, 2007
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Nov. 11, 2007

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The Monarchs wrestling team was back in action on Sunday at the Michigan State Open, where seven grapplers placed. Redshirt sophomore Kaylen Baxter won the 149-lb. weight class, going 4-0 at the tournament while ODU got second place efforts from junior Ryan Williams at 141-lbs and at heavyweight from true freshman Roy Dragon III.

The Monarchs were up against an extremely tough field at the MSU Open. Eight nationally ranked programs attended, plus the Monarchs, who are receiving votes in the national poll. The No. 5 Michigan and No. 6 Northwestern teams were there, as were the No. 8 Ohio State, No. 10 Central Michigan, No. 11 Penn State, No. 15 Indiana, No. 16 Edinboro, and No. 20 Pittsburgh teams.

"The kids wrestled real hard," said Martin. "We wrestled several nationally ranked opponents today and that's really going to help when it gets down to tournament time."

Baxter, a redshirt sophomore from Fairbanks, Alaska, went 4-0 for the win at 149 lbs. to improve his season record to 5-0. After a first round bye, he earned an 8-4 decision over Corey Phillips (Eastern Michigan) and a 3-2 decision over Tim Hammer (Michigan State) to earn a trip to the title bout. He faced Indiana's Nick Walpole in the title bout, and wrestled to a 5-3 victory for the win.

Williams, a former NCAA Qualifier, bumps his season record to 4-1 with the tournament wins. He started the tournament with a major decision (11-2) over Ryan Stirm (Cal Poly) and a first round pin of Colby Pisani (Penn State). He would then claim a 3-1 victory over Adam Koballa to move into the title bout. Nationally ranked Chad Mendes from Cal Poly would pin Williams in the championship bout.

Roy Dragon III, a true freshman from Bridgewater, New Jersey, raced into the title bout like Williams with three straight wins in the freshman/sophomore division. He toppled Kent State's Brendan Barlow in a 7-3 decision, then pinned Manchester College's Jeremy Hechtl in under a minute. He then defeated Wes Schroeder in a 2-0 decision to earn a spot in the title bout, where Jarod Trice of Central Michigan would pin Dragon in the second period. Dragon improves to 3-3 on the season.

Also placing in the tournament were Jesse Strawn (3rd) at 184 lbs, Chris Brown (4th) at 165 lbs, David Mendoza (5th) at 197 lbs, and Billy Chamberlain (6th) at 125 lbs.

Strawn dropped Donald Funk (Eastern Michigan) 2-0 before scoring a 15-2 major decision victory over Adil Kolovic (Northwestern). Dan Thompson (Edinboro) would defeat Strawn in a 6-4 decision to bump the sophomore to the consolation bracket. Strawn would then earn his second major decision, by toppling Jake Fairchild (Eastern Michigan) 12-3. In the 3rd place bout, Strawn was across the mat from Indiana grappler Jantzen Minton. Strawn was just one point shy of his third major decision, as he won 12-5.

Brown was cruising at the tournament with three straight wins, before the fourth ranked 165-pounder in the nation, Matt Coughlin (Indiana) pinned the redshirt sophomore in the third period.

Mendoza would earn his way to a rematch of Friday night's matchup against Michigan State's nationally ranked 197-pounder Joe Williams in the semi-finals. The two would battle all the way through the bout, but Williams would get the better of Mendoza again, this time in overtime, with a 7-6 victory.

At 125 lbs., Billy Chamberlain would wrestle to a 2-3 record en route to a 6th place effort. He won bouts against Clint Frutiger (Michigan State) and Mike Watts (Michigan)

Five other monarchs placed as unattached wrestlers at the NC State Open also on Sunday. Joey Metzler took second at 149 lbs and two Monarchs placed at 184 lbs: Derek Coffey took 3rd and Scott Cust took 4th. True freshmen Andy Totusek took third at heavyweight and Sam Hunt took fourth at 174 lbs.

The Monarchs hit the mat again next Sunday at the Missouri Open in Columbia, Mo..

MSU Open Results by weight class:
Freshman/Sophomore Division
133: Justin Belanger (1-2)
285: Roy Dragon III - 2nd Place (3-1)

Open Division
125: James Nicholson (2-2)

Billy Chamberlain - 6th Place (2-3)
133: Kyle Hutter (1-2)
141: Cam Watkins (0-2)
Ryan Williams - 2nd Place (3-1)
149: Kaylen Baxter - 1st Place (4-0)
157: Dan Rivera (1-2)
165: Chris Brown - 4th Place (4-2)
174: Nick Pullano (2-2)
184: Jesse Strawn - 3rd Place (4-1)
197: David Mendoza - 5th Place (3-2)

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