Monarchs Hit The Mats Against The Citadel Saturday

December 14, 2006
By ODU Athletics

Dec. 14, 2006

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NORFOLK, VA -- Old Dominion (1-1) heads to The Citadel (1-0) for another out-of-conference dual. At 157 lbs. The Citadel have a top ten wrestler and the rest of the team will lean on its veteran experience to try and defeat the youth of Old Dominion.

The Monarchs currently start six first year wrestlers, freshmen and redshirt freshmen, two sophomores, and one junior. The freshmen have compiled an 8-4 record with two pins and one technical fall in the two duals this season. Ryan Williams and David Mendoza, the two sophomores, are both ranked and each have tallied one pin in their dual competition. Nick Pullano, the sole junior starting for Coach Martin, notched a technical fall against Purdue's 165-pounder and then took down nationally ranked Mason grappler Tyler Tisdell 7-3.

Down With the Dogs
The Monarchs travels to South Carolina this Saturday to face The Citadel. The Bulldogs top wrestler is easily Travis Piccard, ranked as high as 9th in the nation at 157. With ODU's Chris Brown nationally ranked as well, the 157-lb. bout puts a lot on the line for each individual.
ODU has tested themselves early with a series of difficult tournaments, a near miss against the Big Ten's Purdue and a dominating performance over George Mason. Coach Steve Martin's young team is proving it's ready to make a run at the CAA title.

Nationally Ranked
Adam Koballa (133) earned his first collegiate national ranking by jumping into the rankings this week at 29th in the nation. Chris Brown (157) has maintained his position at 17th in the Amateur Wrestling News rankings and Ryan Williams is listed as the 27th best 141-pounder by David Mendoza also makes an appearance at 26th for the 197 lb. weight class.
The coaching staff has ushered in back-to-back nationally ranked top eight recruiting classes.

Toppling The Top Tier
In the last two ODU appearances, four nationally ranked opponents have fallen at the hands of Monarch grapplers. At the Penn State Open James Nicholson (unattached) toppled Lehigh's nationally ranked Matt Fisk 3-2. Fisk was ranked 15th. At the same tournament Kaylen Baxter tallied 10 points in a decision against the number seven 149 pounder in the nation, John Cox (Navy).
After the Penn State Open came the George Mason Dual with two nationally ranked wrestlers appearing against the Monarchs. Nick Pullano won 7-3 over Tyler Tisdell, the 17th ranked 165-pounder and David Mendoza pinned Harry Zander, the 15th ranked 197-lb. individual.

Conference Rookie of the Week
Chris Brown was named the Colonial Athletic Association's Rookie of the Week for all competition up to the 4th of December. Brown's efforts to place in the top four of all three tournaments he competed and his 12-4 record gave him the award. Brown has only lost to nationally ranked opponents this season and only by a combined 7 points overall.
Brown was joined by Hofstra's Lou Ruggirello as Co-Rookie of the Week.

Probable Starters:
Weight ODU The Citadel

125 Kyle Hutter Tyler Sim

133 Adam Koballa (29th - Thomas Knapp

141 Ryan Williams (24th - Michael Arias

149 Kaylen Baxter/Joey Metzler Levi Duyn

157 Chris Brown (17th - AWN) Travis Piccard (9th NWCA)

165 Nick Pullano Zachary Filter

174 Derek Coffey/Bryan Koz Darius Caldwell

184 Jesse Strawn John Dickerson

197 David Mendoza (27th - Mark Thompson

Hwt. John Buck

Rockin' Rookies
Coach Steve Martin has called upon his inexperienced grapplers early and many are answering to that call. The Monarchs continue to test themselves early with one of the toughest schedules in collegiate wrestling. The Monarchs continue to throw a very young team on the mat and continue to get significant results.
True freshmen Adam Koballa and Jesse Strawn both placed in three tournaments so far this season. Two other true freshmen have placed in James Nicholson (una.) and Kyle Hutter at 125. ODU also has a bevy of redshirt freshmen wrestling well this season. Chris Brown is making a big name for himself this season. Brown has also placed in all three tournaments this season including a 2nd place finish at the MSU Open. Cam Watkins and Kaylen Baxter are the other redshirts that have placed.
Finally, the sophomores. Ryan Williams continues right where he left off last season as an NCAA Qualifier by winning three places and crushing opponents while at the Mat Town Open, sophomore David Mendoza took first in his weight class. Most recently, Mendoza took down nationally ranked Harry Zander of George Mason.

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