#20 Monarchs Battle Pair of Big 12 Powers In Dual Action This Weekend

November 21, 2008
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 21, 2008

NORFOLK, Va. -- The #20 ODU wrestling Monarchs head to Oklahoma for a pair of tough duals this weekend, as they'll face the 7th ranked Cowboys of Oklahoma State and the 18th ranked Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooner State teams have combined for 41 national championships and a host of nationally ranked individuals will be on display this weekend. It will be ODU's first dual action of the season as ODU will face the Cowboys at 2:00 pm on Saturday and the Sooners at 4:00 pm on Sunday.

Against the Big 12
Old Dominion has never defeated a team in the Big 12, posting an 0-7-1 record against Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The tie came against Missourin in the 1983-84 season when ODU posted a 20-3-1 overall record.

Pre-Season National Ranking This season marks the first time in program history Old Dominion earned a pre-season national ranking. The team was ranked 19th to start the year and is currently ranked 20th in the nation.

So Far This Season
ODU has started the season on a tear, with eight of the ten probable starters taking a first or second place finish in one of the two tournaments ODU opened with. Senior Ryan Williams won the 141-lb weight class at the Michigan State Open while returning All-American James Nicholson and junior NCAA Qualifier Jesse Strawn both won their weights, 125 and 197 respectively, at the Hokie Open.

The second place finishers include NCAA Qualifiers Kyle Hutter (133), Chris Brown (165) and Eric Decker (174), along with returner Kaylen Baxter (149) and newcomer Joe Budi (184).

About #7 Oklahoma State
The Boys posted eight champions at the Central Missouri Open last weekend. The team has seven nationally ranked individuals, including the top ranked heavyweight in the nation, Jared Rosholt. The most intriguing matchup of the dual will come at the 125-lb weight class as ODU's James Nicholson, ranking 5th in the nation, will face Obenson Blanc, the 6th best 125-pounder. OSU also will throw the 11th ranked 133- at ODU's 12th ranked Kyle Hutter, the 10th ranked 165- at ODU's 16th best Chris Brown.

The teams have matched up just once before, with the Cowboys taking the win. Saturday's dual results will be updated live on the Oklahoma State athletics webpage at www.okstate.com.

About #18 Oklahoma
The Sooners were ranked below the Monarchs at the outset of the season, but have since impressed voters with a hot start. Oklahoma has already posted two wins this season, shutting out Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City. Head Coach Jack Spates is coming off his 200th career win and will be looking for 201 against the Monarchs with six nationally ranked grapplers at his disposal. The Sooners are led by #9 Zack Bailey (141), #10 Eric Lapotsky (197) and #10 Jeff James (174).

The two teams have met on the mat just once before, with the Sooners winning the match-up. Sunday's dual results will be updated live on the Oklahoma website at www.soonersports.com.

 ODU's Probable Starters (Weight)  Hometown (Year)  Record
 No. 5 James Nicholson (125)  Des Moines, Iowa (R-So.)  4-0
 No. 12 Kyle Hutter (133)  Mokena, Ill. (Jr.)  3-1
 No. 14 Ryan Williams (141)  Mechanicsburg, Pa. (Sr.)  5-0
 Kaylen Baxter (149)  Fairbanks, Alaska (RJr.)  4-1
 Dan Rivera (157)  Winter Springs, Fla. (R-So.)  1-1
 No. 16 Chris Brown (165)  Chesapeake, Va. (R-Jr.)  3-1
 Eric Decker (174)  Wells Bridge, N.Y. (Jr.)  4-3
 Joe Budi (184)  Appleton, Wisc. (Fr.)  8-2
 Jesse Strawn (197)  Holton, Kan. (Jr.)  4-0
 Roy Dragon III (HWT)  Bridgewater, N.J. (So.)  1-2