Monarchs Set to Face Liberty in First Round of Virginia Duals

January 11, 2007
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Jan. 11, 2007

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NORFOLK, VA -- The Monarchs earned the six seed heading into the Virginia Duals this Friday and Saturday and are matched up against Liberty University in the first round. The first dual for ODU is set to begin at 11:00 am on Friday, with the second round, win or lose, slated for 3:00 pm Friday afternoon. The winner of the prelim will face the winner of the #2 Kent State/Citadel matchup.
ODU was able to scout Liberty last weekend as they hosted the Flames during the Virginia Intercollegiate State Tournament. Tim Harner of Liberty was named the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler and will give Ryan Williams a test Friday morning. ODU went 7-3 against Liberty wrestlers at the tournament.

Conference Honors
This week, Monarchs David Mendoza and Kaylen Baxter were named wrestlers of the week by the conference.
Mendoza, a sophomore from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, was named Co-Wrestler of the week after going 10-2 between two tournaments. He earned 5th place at the Southern Scuffle and breezed through the Virginia States to a first place finish.
Mendoza toppled nationally ranked Harry Zander for the second time this season in the title bout of the Virginia States with a 3:30 pin. Mendoza added three pins to garner a team-leading eight for the season. He is currently ranked 20th by InterMat.
The CAA named Kaylen Baxter, a red-shirt freshman from Fairbanks, Alaska, Co-Rookie of the Week after defeating two nationally ranked opponents and winning his weight class at the Virginia States. Baxter put away Lehigh's top 149-pounder at the Southern Scuffle and then, in the title bout at the States, he earned a last second takedown/nearfall to win 9-6 over VMI's ranked Sam Alvarenga.

Don't I Know You?
With the grueling season thus far, the Monarchs have already faced a number of opponents they could see this weekend. ODU has seen and faced off against all three of the top seeds at the Duals, Penn State, Edinboro, and Kent State.
The Monarchs have gone 18-16 against the top three teams already this season. ODU has also seen a lot of 8th seed Bloomsburg and unseeded opponents UVA, VMI, Liberty and the Citadel. Overall, the Monarchs are coming into the Duals with a 60-44 record this season against opponents they could possibly wrestle again this weekend.

Toppling The Top Tier
Old Dominion has made it a habit to rise against top competition this season. Before the Southern Scuffle four nationally ranked opponents had fallen at the hands of Monarch grapplers. Since, ODU can add seven more names to the hit list.
The biggest win of the year came at the hands of Kaylen Baxter when he toppled 7th ranked John Cox early in the year. Since, Baxter has knocked off two more ranked opponents including another top ten grappler. Kyle Hutter (125) knocked Kent State's Chad Sportelli (ranked as high as 14th) out of the Southern Scuffle tournament tournament with an 8-2 decision in the wrestlebacks. Another Kent State wrestler fell to Jesse Strawn when Eric Chine (24th nationally) was dropped in an 11-6 decision.
Finally, David Mendoza has three wins over ranked opponents with a default victory over Cornell's Jerry Rinaldi, ranked second in the nation, and two pins of Mason's Harry Zander.
At the Penn State Open James Nicholson (unattached) toppled Lehigh's nationally ranked Matt Fisk 3-2. Fisk was ranked 15th. Nick Pullano has beaten Tyler Tisdell twice, the 17th ranked 165-pounder in the nation.

Alaskan Assassin
Kaylen Baxter (Fairbanks, Alaska) has made it a habit this season of knocking off nationally ranked opponents. Baxter has stormed off to a 20-11 record his rookie year including three wins over Top 20 wrestlers.
He knocked out 7th ranked John Cox (Navy), 10th ranked Trevor Chinn (Lehigh), and 18th ranked Sam Alvarenga (VMI). The bout against Alvarenga was the title bout of the Virginia State Tournament.