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NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Six Monarch Wrestlers Set Sights On All-American Podium in St. Louis

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 18, 2009
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March 18, 2009

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Six Monarch wrestlers are ready and waiting for Thursday morning as the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships kick off at 11:00 am. James Nicholson (Des Moines, Iowa), Ryan Williams (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and Chris Brown (Chesapeake, Va.) are all seeded headed into the national tournament, while Kyle Hutter (Mokena, Ill.), Eric Decker (Wells Bridge, N.Y.) and Jesse Strawn (Holton, Kansas) will wrestle unseeded. All six have at least one year of NCAA Tournament experience already, and Nicholson was an All-American in 2008.

It's the second straight year ODU has qualified a program-high six to the NCAA Tournament. This season, Old Dominion had three conference champions and two more earned automatic bids with their performances at the CAA Tournament. Hutter was named an at-large participant by the NCAA Committee rounding out the Monarchs group of grapplers.

Leading the way for ODU are returning All-American James Nicholson (35-2; #6 seed at 125 lbs) and lone senior Ryan Williams (35-3; #8 seed at 141 lbs). Both won their weight at the CAA Tournament for the second straight year and neither has lost since January 9.

Chris Brown (27-6; #10 seed at 165 lbs), Jesse Strawn (33-11 at 197 lbs), Kyle Hutter (22-12 at 133 lbs) and Eric Decker (26-17 at 174 lbs) are the other qualifiers for ODU. The Monarchs have six of the CAA's 25 NCAA Qualifiers in St. Louis this weekend.

Wrestling is set to begin at 11:00 am on Thursday, March 19, and Session II will begin at 6:30 pm. On Friday, wrestling begins at 10:00 am with Session IV at 6:00 pm. The All-American round begins at 5:30 on Saturday.

The ESPN family of networks will broadcast the NCAA Wrestling Championships starting with the quarterfinals on Friday, March 20 at 11:00 a.m.. The quarters will be live on ESPNU/ESPN360.com while the semifinals will be live on ESPNU/ESPN2/ESPN360.com at 7:00 pm. On Saturday, the championship medal round at 10:30 a.m. will be broadcast on ESPNU/ESPN360.com while the finals, set for 6:30 p.m., will be on ESPN/ESPN360.com.

Old Dominion will be among the first represented on the mats this weekend, as Chris Brown will wrestle a pigtail matchup against Justin Zeerip (Michigan) to kick things off. Senior Ryan Williams is just two wins away from tying the all-time career mark at Old Dominion, with 133 total victories.

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