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ODU Set For CAA Duals; Face Sacred Heart & Drexel Tonight

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: January 18, 2008
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Jan. 18, 2008

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NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion wrestling team (8-2/0-0) heads into the CAA Duals as a nationally ranked program for the first time in school history tonight as the 22nd ranked Monarchs will face five conference foes over the next two days. ODU kicks off the CAA Duals Friday night at 6:00 pm against Sacred Heart and will face Drexel at 8:00 pm. They return to the mat Saturday, January 19 to face Binghamton at 11:00 am, Boston University at 1:00 pm and #12 Hofstra at 3:00 pm.

The premiere dual of the weekend will be the 22nd ranked Monarchs facing off with the 12th ranked Pride of Hofstra at 3:00 pm on Saturday. The Pride boast five Top Ten wrestlers in the nation including a team best 6th ranked grappler at 133 lbs, Lou Ruggirello.

ODU is led by the nationwide leader in wins, #17 Kaylen Baxter, at 149 lbs. Baxter has totaled 30 wins, more than anyone else in the country so far this season. He will have a huge test this weekend, as his probable foes from both Binghamton and Boston University are nationally ranked.

RS Freshman James Nicholson will probably face two nationally ranked foes as well, including #10 Dave Tomasette, who he upset at the Southern Scuffle. The other nationally ranked opponent will be against Drexel's 20th ranked Steve Mytych.

Junior Ryan Williams, ranked number 13 in the country at 141 lbs, will also look to make an impact this weekend as he'll have to face #6 Charles Griffin from Hofstra. The two wrestled earlier this year at the Las Vegas Invitational and Griffin won 3-1 in a sudden victory overtime period.

Nationally Ranked Individuals
For the first time in school history, Old Dominion has six grapplers ranked nationally by Amateur Wrestling News. 125-pounder James Nicholson checks in at the top, ranked 12th, while Kyle Hutter (14th at 133), Ryan Williams (15th at 141), Kaylen Baxter (17th at 149), Chris Brown (19th at 165) and Jesse Strawn (20th at 184) all are in the new poll.

"For the first time in school history, six wrestlers are nationally ranked in the Top 20. This is a huge stepping stone for the program as it shows that our program is capable of competing and beating teams in the Top 20," said head coach Steve Martin.

Three Monarchs are ranked by all four national polls. Nicholson, Baxter and Brown are ranked by InterMat, AWN, W.I.N. Magazine, and wrestlingreport.com. Kyle Hutter made his first appearance in the national polls this week after upsetting two nationally ranked opponents at the Virginia Duals. He dropped #13 Dan Mitcheff (Kent State) and #15 Eric Albright (UVa) by decision at the Duals.

Kaylen Baxter and Chris Brown have maintained slots in the top 25 throughout the season. Brown dropped #1 Hawkeye 165-pounder Mark Perry earlier in the season, boosting his personal record and Baxter has tallied a nationwide best 30 wins already this season.

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