Wrestling Announces 2006-07 Schedule

September 27, 2006
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Sept. 27, 2006

NORFOLK, Va. -- Old Dominion head coach Steve Martin has announced the 2006-07 wrestling schedule which will feature four home dates, dual meets with eight of the top wrestling schools in the country, along with numerous tournaments featuring teams in the nation's top ten.

"We will have a very tough schedule this season," said Martin, who embarks on his third year at the helm of the Monarch wrestling program. "Through the tournaments and duals we have this season, we are going to see most of the programs in the top 25 in the country. That was our goal this season. This schedule will help us prepare for our conference tournament and the NCAA tournament in March. We could potentially face wrestlers from 11 teams in the top 33 in the country. We will be a young team this season, but we expect big things from our team this year."

The season kicks off for the Monarch grapplers on October 29th with the annual Blue & Silver Intrasquad meet.

Old Dominion will follow with the first of three trips to the Midwest when they travel to Purdue.

Tournament action gets underway two days later when the Monarchs compete in the Michigan State Open. The Michigan State will feature several BIG TEN member programs as well as other nationally recognized programs including Central Michigan. Last season, the BIG TEN had 10 of its 11 teams finish 26th or higher at the 2006 NCAA Championships.

"Our first two dates this season will give our guys an opportunity to wrestle many opponents from the Big Ten which produces a good portion of the All-Americans annually," said Martin. "The Big Ten generally has the most physical wrestlers in the country and we are going to have to battle that weekend in order to compete."

The following weekend, Martin's squad will travel to the Cornell Body Bar Invitational. Featured in this year's invitational will be two of the country's top ten teams in fifth-ranked Cornell and seventh-ranked Michigan.

Two more tournaments await Old Dominion before returning home. The Monarchs will compete at both the Mat Town Open to close out November and participate at the Penn State Open to open the month of December. Penn State returns All-Americans James Yonushonis (174) and Phil Davis, the NCAA runner-up in 2006 at 197, while Arizona State returns 157-pound NCAA runner-up Brian Stith and Edinboro returns two All-Americans, Deonte Penn (165) and Gregor Gillespie (149).

Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) member George Mason will serve as the Monarchs home opener on December 8th, followed by a tri-meet against North Carolina State and The Citadel, before the Monarchs break for Christmas.

Following the Christmas break, Old Dominion will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina to compete in the Southern Scuffle. Last year's event featured five programs in the country's top ten and will include this year's preseason national title favorite, Minnesota.

"The Southern Scuffle is quickly becoming one of the best regular season tournaments in the country," commented Martin. "Many top programs come to this tournament every year and it is one of the last opportunities for our guys to compete in an individual tournament format until conference tournament time. This tournament is the last one that will simulate what NCAA's will be like on our schedule. Everything on our schedule is to prepare us for NCAA's in March."

The Monarchs return home a week later to host and defend their Virginia Intercollegiate Championships title. Last season, Old Dominion had five championships and two finalists at the state tournament.

Old Dominion will not be far from home a week later as they travel to Hampton, Virginia to compete in the prestigious Virginia Duals. This year's dual meet tournament format features three teams in the top 10 in the country (Penn State, Arizona State, and Edinboro).

The CAA duals will occur on January 19th and 20th at George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia. Among the featured participants will be CAA champion, Hofstra, who finished 11th at last year's NCAA Championships.

The Monarchs take a week off before making their second trip out to the Midwest to face Northern Iowa and Northern Illinois. Both programs were among the nation's Top 25 last season.

"Both of these teams are traditionally very tough teams and they usually have two to three All-Americans on their team," said Martin.

Old Dominion will return home for their third match of the season as they host in-state rival Virginia Tech. The Monarchs will follow with another trip to the Midwest where they will face assistant coach Lee Pritts' former team, Missouri.

"This will probably be the toughest dual of the season. Their lineup features three returning All-Americans and a defending National Champion," said Pritts. "This will be a good test for our team by traveling into a hostile environment and competing against one of the nation's elite."

The Monarchs then wrap up their regular season schedule by facing American University. American finished 17th at last year's NCAA Championships.

Old Dominion begins its quest for a conference title when they compete at the CAA Tournament March 2nd and 3rd at George Mason University. The Monarchs will wrap up the season March 15th-17th at the NCAA Championships in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

"This schedule is designed to prepare us for NCAA's," said Martin. "This year we have a team that can compete and do some good things. For many guys it will be their first time stepping out on the mat for Old Dominion, but by the end of the season, they will be experienced enough to where they are veterans. This type of schedule will be very typical of our program in the future. You have to face the best in order to be the best."