Monarch Wrestling Ranked 20th In Preseason Poll By D1CollegeWrestling.Net

August 06, 2008
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Aug. 6, 2008

NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion wrestling team, headed up by 2008 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Coach of the Year Steve Martin, was ranked 20th in the 2008-09 D1CollegeWrestling.Net Preseason Poll, while six grapplers were featured in the individual rankings.

The Monarchs are coming off one of the most successful seasons in history. A season ago, the Old Dominion wrestling program earned a top 20 ranking for the first time in school history and qualified six individuals for the NCAA tournament. The Monarchs finished the 2007-08 season with a 17-3 overall mark, the second most wins in school history and second best record in the modern era, along with a 6-1 record in CAA competition and a second place finish at the conference championship. Martin, who will enter his fifth season at Old Dominion, returns nine starters from last year's squad and welcomes an incoming class of grapplers ranked ninth in the country according to W.I.N. Magazine and 10th by Intermat.

Returning All-American and rising sophomore James Nicholson led Old Dominion in the individual rankings coming in at fifth at 125 lbs. Nicholson, the Monarchs' first all-American since 1995 and the CAA's Rookie of the Year, finished eighth at the NCAA Tournament and owns a 35-10 overall mark. Additionally, he was the first Monarch in program history to be named to the Amateur Wrestling News (AWN) First Team All-Rookie squad and was also a NWCA Academic All-American.

Chris Brown, the CAA Champion at 165 lbs, was ranked 12th. Brown, who will enter his junior season in the fall, compiled a 25-11 a year ago. Brown won his weight class the Virginia Intercollegiates and placed third at the Missouri Open, fifth at the Michigan State Open, and seventh at the Southern Scuffle.

Kyle Hutter, a rising junior, placed 16th in the individual rankings at 133 lbs. Hutter placed second at the CAA Tournament becoming one of the six Monarchs to reach the NCAA Tournament. Hutter finished last season with 33 wins, which included winning the Virginia Intercollegiates and a second place showing at the Missouri Open.

Kaylen Baxter, who will be a junior in the fall, ranked 23rd at 149 lbs. Baxter posted a 38-11 overall mark in 2007-08 and holds a 72-34 career record. Among Baxter's highlights last season include taking home the Michigan State Open and Virginia Intercollegiate titles, as well as a second place finish at the Missouri Open, a fourth place showing at the Southern Scuffle, and an eight place finish at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Jesse Strawn, a rising junior, also ranked 23rd for the Monarchs in the 197-lb weight class. He was an NCAA Qualifier at 184-lbs this season after a 31-15 season and a second place effort at the CAA Championship. He led the team in pins with seven and added 11 more bonus point victories with eight major decisions and three tech falls.

Ryan Williams rounds out the Monarch individual rankings coming in at No. 25 at 141lbs. Williams, who will enter his senior campaign this fall, led Old Dominion in wins (39), major decisions (11), and decisions (24). He is just two wins shy of his 100th career victory and currently sits eighth all time in ODU career wins. Williams captured the CAA and Virginia Intercollegiate titles and placed second at the Michigan and Missouri Opens. He was also a NWCA Academic All-American selection.

D1CollegeWrestling.Net 2008-2009 NCAA Team Rankings
1. Iowa Hawkeyes
2. Iowa State Cyclones
3. Cornell Big Red
4. Nebraska Cornhuskers
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
6. Missouri Tigers
7. Illinois Fighting Illini
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers
9. Penn State Nittany Lions
10. Oklahoma State Cowboys
11. Michigan Wolverines
12. Northwestern Wildcats
13. Boise State Broncos
14. Indiana Hooisers
15. Wisconsin Badgers
16. Edinboro Fighting Scots
17. Central Michigan Chippawas
18. Maryland Terrapins
19. Oklahoma Sooners
20. Old Dominion Monarchs
21. Penn Quakers
22. West Virginia Mountaineers
23. Purdue Boilermarkers
24. Navy Midshipmen
25. Northern Iowa Panthers

D1CollegeWrestling.Net Individual Rankings
125 - James Nicholson - No. 5
133 - Kyle Hutter - No. 16
141 - Ryan Williams - No. 25
149 - Kaylen Baxter - No. 23
165 - Chris Brown - No. 12
197 - Jesse Strawn - No. 23