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Monarchs Finish 11th at Midlands Wrestling Championships

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: December 30, 2008
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Dec. 30, 2008

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EVANSTON, Ill. -- The 21st ranked Monarchs finished with an 11th place finish at the Midlands Wrestling Championship, posting 53 total points at the event and placing three wrestlers. Junior Jesse Strawn posted a win against Maryland's 7th ranked Hudson Taylor in the consolation bracket and finished fifth, while senior Ryan Williams finished fifth and sophomore James Nicholson was third.

"The Midlands is the closest competition that you can participate in that mirrors the NCAA tournament and we had great performances out of James Nicholson,Ryan Williams, and Jesse Strawn," said head coach Steve Martin. "Williams lost to the #5 ranked wrestler in the pigtail round and reeled off seven wins to place fifth. He finished ahead of several nationally ranked competitiors. Strawn pinned a returning All-American and finished ahead of several nationally ranked opponents as well."

The Monarchs were led by James Nicholson, who finished 3rd at 125 lbs. The ODU grappler earned redemption against the only wrestler this season who was able to defeat him, Central Michigan's #9 ranked Scott Sentes. Sentes gave Nicholson his first loss on day one of the Midlands tournament and the two matched up again in the consolation championship match for third place.

Nicholson won three matches before the bout with Sentes, including a tiebreaker victory over 20th ranked Ben Kjar (Utah Valley) and a 3-1 decision over #8 seed Jay Ivanco (Clarion). He also posted a 12-4 major decision against Maryland's Brendan Byrne to start the day. In the consolation championship, Nicholson edged the top ten Chippewa, Sentes, by a count of 3-2. He finished the tournament 6-1, giving him an overall record of 16-1 this season.

"James Nicholson avenged his only loss of the season by defeating nationally ranked Sentes from CMU. James continues to win big matches when its all on the line. We heard several positive comments from the coaches in the Big Ten and Big twelve," Martin said.

At 141 lbs, senior Ryan Williams continued to cruise through the wrestlebacks, finishing with seven wins in the tournament to lead the way for ODU. He went 3-1 on the second day, including a first period pin over Iowa State's Dalton Jensen in the fifth place match.

He nearly earned a shot at third place as he faced Central Michigan's Tony Dalie in the consolation semi's, but Dalie escaped with a 5-4 win. Williams dispatched Central Michigan's Eric Kruger, 11-5 and Indiana's Scott Kelly, 1-0, before falling to Dalie and then pinning Jensen in 1:32.

Williams posted seven wins in the tournament, giving him 115 career victories. He is now tied with Nick Hall for fourth all time in ODU wins.

Jesse Strawn also placed at Midlands, with a fantastic showing in the wrestlebacks. First, he posted a 5-2 win over the #7 seeded Patrick Bond. Bond is a two-time NCAA Qualifier and was ranked in the top ten earlier this season. The win gave Strawn momentum as he faced a current top ten grappler, Hudson Taylor (Maryland), ranked as high as 6th in the nation.

Strawn was able to turn Taylor and get a pin in the second period, marking the biggest win in Strawn's career as he toppled the Terrapin All-American, who was ranked as high as second in the nation this season. It was just his eighth loss in his last 64 matches. The second period pin was just the second time over the last two seasons Taylor was beat by fall.

Strawn then faced Max Askren for the second time this season and posted six points on Missouri's third-ranked grappler, but fell by decision in the consolation semi's. Strawn faced two-time NCAA Qualifier Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin) in the fifth place matchup and won with a medical forfeit. He finished the event with a 5-2 record and a fifth place finish.

The six-seeded Kyle Hutter was pinned by Tristen DeShazer (Northern Illinois) in his only match on Tusday.

Final Results:
125: James Nicholson (6-1) -- 3rd Place
133: Kyle Hutter (2-1)
141: Ryan Williams (7-2) -- 5th Place
149: Joey Metzler (1-2)
157: Dan Rivera (0-2)
165: Chris Brown (2-2)
174: Derek Coffey (1-2)
197: Jesse Strawn (5-2) -- 5th Place
285: Roy Dragon III (0-2)

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