NORFOLK, VA – The Old Dominion University wrestling team has announced their schedule for the upcoming 2013-14 season. The Monarchs have composed a very challenging schedule, as this will be their first season in the Mid-American Conference after 21 seasons in the Colonial Athletic Association. Steve Martin and his wrestling Monarchs will host seven different top-notch dual meets, which includes the likes of: Iowa State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Central Michigan and Northern Iowa.
Head Coach Steve Martin said, “We are wrestling five teams at home this upcoming season that finished in the top 15 at last year's NCAA tournament. Our fans should be very excited about the level of competition that will be consistently coming to Old Dominion with our move to the MAC. This will be a very challenging schedule, especially at home but we are confident we have the team that can rise up to this challenge and be very competitive with these top teams.”
Martin continued, “Our goal when we put together a schedule is to make sure we are facing competition that will prepare us for the NCAA tournament. We want to make sure our athletes have the ability to face the best guys in the country in order to help them understand what it takes to win a NCAA title. This year's schedule is very dual-meet focused. There will be several opportunities for our guys to compete against returning All-Americans and NCAA Champions. Our guys will have to come together as a team in order to accomplish our team’s goals for the upcoming season, as well as their individual goals.”
Last season, ODU swept through their final year in the CAA by going a perfect 6-0 against conference competition. Old Dominion sent four student-athletes to the 2013 NCAA Championships, increasing their total to 11 NCAA qualifiers in just two seasons.
In addition to Old Dominion University, the University of Missouri and the University of Northern Iowa joined the MAC as affiliate members. All three universities have joined the MAC with five-year agreements.
The addition of the three affiliate members increased the MAC wrestling membership to nine members with Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Northern Illinois and Ohio already in place. With this increase in wrestling membership, the MAC has become the third largest Division I wrestling league in the nation only behind the Big Ten and the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA).
Martin discussed his Monarchs’ new conference, “The MAC registered the third most All-Americans last year. It is rated the second toughest conference in the country, behind only the Big Ten. ODU’s move to the MAC will help allow our athletes to obtain high seeds at the national tournament, as well as prepare them for the grind at the NCAA tournament.”
2013-14 action will kickoff for Old Dominion with the annual Blue-Silver Intrasquad Scrimmage on a date to be later determined.
The first official varsity competition will take place on Nov. 10 at the Hokie Duals in Salem, Va; UNC, Rider and Wisconsin are all slated to attend the 2013 Hokie Duals. The following Sunday, the Monarchs will grapple at the NC State Open in Raleigh, N.C. on Nov. 17.
Nov. 24 marks the first home dual for Old Dominion, as they will take on Iowa State. Last season, Steve Martin and his Monarchs defeated Iowa State (22-13) in Ames, Iowa in front over 2,000 Cyclone’ fans. Iowa State sent seven wrestlers to the 2013 NCAA Championships and ranked as high as No. 11 as a team at the end of the season. The Cyclones will be bringing eight National Championships and 17 conference titles to Norfolk, Va. on Nov. 24.
Two days later on Nov. 26, ODU welcomes Virginia Tech to the Ted Constant Center. Last year, the Hokies sent all 10 of their wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa and had four of those guys All-American. As a team, VT finished last season ranked within the top 10.
To cap off three straight home duals for the Monarchs, Old Dominion hosts Eastern Michigan on Dec. 6.
ODU will then square off with Kent State on Dec. 16 in Kent, Ohio. In 2011, Kent State crowned their first National Champion in 197-pound, Dustin Kilgore.
The Southern Scuffle is set to be held on Jan. 1-2 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Virginia Duals will then follow on Jan. 10-11 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va.
The University of Virginia Cavaliers will wrestle Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. on Jan. 19. Last year, UVA finished in the top 20 national team rankings and sent nine wrestlers to the NCAA’s (two became All-Americans).
The Monarchs will then hit the road for duals against at Binghamton on Jan. 24 and at Buffalo on Jan. 25. Buffalo sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships last season.
Martin’s Monarchs will then return back home for two duals against Northern Illinois on Jan. 31 and against Central Michigan on Feb. 2. Last year Central Michigan finished second in the MAC Championships, snapping their conference dynasty of eleven straight MAC championships. The Chippewas who finished last season in the top 15, sent eight guys to the NCAA Championships and two of those student-athletes earned All-American status.
On Feb. 9, Old Dominion will have a showdown with Ohio in Athens, Ohio. Ohio sent a total of five wrestlers to the 2013 NCAA Championships and had one become an All-American.
On Feb. 15, ODU will then attempt to takedown the defending MAC champions, Missouri in Colombia, Mo. Last season, the Missouri Tigers sent all 10 wrestlers to the NCAA’s and had five All-Americans. Missouri finished as high as No. 4 within the national team rankings.
Old Dominion’s seventh and final home match will take place on Feb. 23 against Northern Iowa. Northern Iowa finished third in the MAC last season, sent four to the NCAA’s and possessed two All-Americans.
The 2014 MAC Championships will be held on March 8-9 at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. This will be ODU’s first time participating in the MAC Championships.
The 2014 NCAA Championships will take place in Oklahoma City, Okla. at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 20-22.
Be sure to follow Old Dominion Wrestling on Twitter at twitter.com/ODUWrestling and find them on Facebook at facebook.com/OldDominionWrestling.