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Monarchs Head to Virginia Duals This Weekend

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: January 08, 2009
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Jan. 8, 2009

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NORFOLK, Va. -- The #23 ODU Monarchs (5-4/1-0) head to Hampton for the 29th Annual Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum. ODU is seeded sixth in one of the toughest fields in the history of the event and will take on Northern Colorado in the first round at 11:00 am Friday morning. The winner will face the winner of the #3 Central Michigan/Liberty winner at 3:00 pm. Action will then continue on Saturday with the finals slated for 8:30 pm.

Virginia Duals
This years field at the Virginia Duals should prove to be one of the most excellent in the 29 year history of the event, as their will be seven nationally ranked teams and two more receiving votes in the national poll. That makes nine of the 16 participating National College Division schools ranked, including the 21st ranked Monarchs.

The top ranked schools at the event are #6 Lehigh, #12 Central Michigan and #13 Oklahoma State. ODU has already wrestled the Cowboys and this will be an opportunity to scout the Chippewas, who the Monarchs will travel for a dual on the first of February.

Also attending will be #17 Edinboro, #23 Penn, #24 Virginia and the two schools receiving votes in the most recent poll, Kent State and Navy. ODU opponents Bucknell and RIder will also be in attendance.

Scouting The Competition
Some of the stiffest competiton of the year will be at the Virginia Duals as 48 individuals attending are ranked by the InterMat poll. This includes the top ranked 157-pounder from Edinboro, Gregor Gillespie, and a trio of top ten grapplers at the 125-pound weight class: James Nicholson (ODU), Obe Blanc (OK St) and Scott Sentes (CMU).

ODU has already wrestled Oklahoma State this year, and later this season will wrestle four more of the teams at the Virginia Duals, giving the coaching staff an opportunity to scout the competition.

About the Monarchs
Old Dominion has been nationally ranked since the pre-season polls, marking the first time in school history the Monarchs were ranked headed into the year. ODU opened the season with a pair of tournaments, the Michigan State Open and the Hokie Open, where the team placed ten and had three champions. ODU also placed four at the Midlands and Southern Scuffle Tournaments over holiday break.

ODU has posted 5 dual victories this year, including a win over Purdue, who was receiving votes in the national rankings. The Monarchs have suffered four losses, but all have come to nationally ranked opponents, including three in the top ten.

RS Junior Chris Brown (Chesapeake, Va.) beat the #1 kid in the nation for the second straight season, as he bested Nick Marable (Missouri) in a tiebreaker at the Northeast Duals. He also grabbed another win over a top ten wrestler last weekend with a sudden victory decision over #9 Luke Manuel (Purdue).

RS Sophomore James Nicholson returns to the mat in `08-09 as ODU's newest All-American. He has started the season 19-1 and is ranked fourth in the nation.

ODU's lone senior this year, Ryan Williams, is also ranked in the Top Ten after an impressive start to his final campaign. The two-time NCAA Qualifier is 18-3 on the season and ranks fourth all-time on the ODU wins list.

The team boasts ranked wrestlers at seven weight classes, including five wrestlers ranked by at least four media outlets. Nicholson and Williams lead the way in the top ten, while Brown, Jesse Strawn and Kyle Hutter are all ranked nationally by at least four polls.

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