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#19 Monarchs Wrestling at Michigan State Open Sunday

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: November 07, 2008
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Nov. 7, 2008

NORFOLK, Va. -- The 19th ranked Old Dominion wrestling team will take the mats on the road this weekend to open the 2008-09 regular season. ODU travels to East Lansing, Michigan for the MSU Open, where seven Monarchs placed a year ago. Junior Kaylen Baxter won the 149-lb weight class and two more Monarchs were finalists at the event. Bracket updates can be found at msuspartans.com.

This year, the tournament boasts over 500 wrestlers with close to 40 teams represented at the event. ODU will be tested right away as grapplers from at least nine other ranked teams will be in attendance: #4 Ohio State, #7 Penn State, #9 Illinois, #10 Michigan, #11 Northwestern, #15 Edinboro, #16 Indiana, #18 Central Michigan and #23 Virginia. It will be the first chance for ODU to show what its got after earning its first ever team ranking in the preseason.

Leading the way this season will be redshirt sophomore James Nicholson, an All-American at 125 lbs. He is ranked as high as fourth in the nation headed into the season, by W.I.N. Magazine and will look for another shot at the podium this season.

He will be joined by redshirt junior Chris Brown, ranked ninth at 165 lbs and by the only senior on this years squad, Ryan Williams at 141 lbs. Williams is a two-time NCAA Qualifier and is ranked 18th headed into his senior campaign, just two wins shy of 100 for his career. Brown comes in with a top ten ranking to start the season and will look to return to the NCAA Tournament this year after winning the weight at the CAA Tournament a year ago.

Also ranked headed into this season are Kyle Hutter (13th at 133 lbs) and Jesse Strawn (18th at 197 lbs).

Head coach Steve Martin led his team to a 17-3 mark a year ago against top quality competition. The MSU Open is just the first of several tough weekends to start the season for ODU, as the team will travel to the Hokie Open next weekend and follow it up with one of the toughest road swings in school history with Duals against #7 Oklahoma State and #20 Oklahoma on the same weekend.

Live bracket updates can be found this Sunday on www.msuspartans.com or on www.trackwrestling.com.

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