Highest Ranking Ever For Old Dominion Wrestling at #19

January 03, 2008
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Jan. 3, 2008

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NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion wrestling team has jumped to a higher ranking than ever before at 19th in the W.I.N. Magazine rankings and at 24th in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA rankings for the fourth straight week. The team heads on the road this weekend to Charlottesville, Va. for the Virginia Intercollegiate State Tournament, of which they are back-to-back defending champions. Wrestling begins at 9:30 am with the finals scheduled for 4:45 pm.

Old Dominion won the tournament in 2006 and again last year. They placed 11 a year ago and had six grapplers in title bouts. ODU boasts more ranked wrestlers than any of the five other teams at the event, including four grapplers ranked in all four major polls. Ryan Williams (#12 - 141) has been ranked higher than any individual under the tutelage of Coach Steve Martin since Christian Staylor was ranked 8th in 2004.

Top 25 Team
ODU earned its first national ranking since the 1990-91 season earlier this year as W.I.N. Magazine ranked the Monarchs 22nd in the nation. Since then, ODU has been a staple in the top 25 and has recently earned the programs best ever national ranking, at 19th in the nation by W.I.N.

The Monarchs are also ranked 24th in the nation in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA rankings. Old Dominion has been in InterMat's Top 25 for five straight rankings.

As far as individuals, ODU has four wrestlers coming in ranked by all four major polls. Junior 141 Ryan Williams has been ranked higher than any Monarch under head coach Steve Martin since Christian Staylor reached a ranking of 8th in 2004. Williams is currently ranked as high as 12th in the nation and was as high as 11th earlier this season.

Redshirt freshman James Nicholson has seen his name among the nation's best for the first time in his collegiate career, ranking as high as 13th by Amateur Wrestling News. His third place at the Southern Scuffle Tournament turned heads nationally and he is ranked no lower than 20th in any of the major polls.

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 team best 20 wins already this season.

Coming to the Ted
ODU will host three home matches at the Ted Constant Convocation Center this season, starting with Delaware State this Tuesday, January 8 at 7:30 pm. The home opener for the Monarchs will be the first dual for ODU since November. Old Dominion has never lost to Delaware State, boasting an 8-0 all-time record against the Hornets.

The Monarchs return to the Ted later this month to host the Bucknell Bison on January 27 at 1:00 pm. The two teams haven't met since 1987 and Bucknell has dropped ODU in the only two meetings in program history.

Finally, the Ted will play host to its first ever Colonial Athletic Association wrestling match on February 10, as ODU hosts Rider University immediately following the women's basketball game against William & Mary. The match will begin at approximately 5:00 pm as the teams battle for the edge in the all-time series, currently knotted up at 3-3-1. Old Dominion dropped the Broncs twice last season.