ADRIAN, Mich.--The 2017-18 season for the Adrian College men's wrestling team will start in earnest on Saturday when the Bulldogs will be joined by eight schools for the inaugural Bulldog Invitational at the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center field house. The event will utilize six mats in the "blue gym" and the action is scheduled to get under way at 10 a.m.
The nine-team Invitational includes the host Bulldogs, 2016-17 nationally-ranked NCAA Division III programs Wabash (No. 21) and Heidelberg (No. 25) colleges, John Carroll University, Washington & Jefferson College, Thiel College, Henry Ford Junior College, Division II Lourdes University and Mott Community College.
The cost of admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students 18-and-under, free for children 5-and-under as well as Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association students with student ID are admitted free. For GPS driving directions, use the address 146 North Charles Street, Adrian, Michigan 49221. The MSFC building and parking lot is located in area 2-B and C of the campus map. There will be a limited amount of seating, but parents and fans are welcome to bring lawn chairs. Doors will open at 6:30 a.m.
Here's a brief look at each participating team...
Adrian--Senior co-captain Zach Rieger is nationally ranked at Nos. 9 and 10 in his heavyweight class, according to D3wrestle.com and the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), respectively...Rieger, a two-time NWCA Scholar All-American, competed in the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Wrestling Championship and finished with a 24-9 record...at 157 pounds, Dylan Steward (16-11) used a terrific freshman season to start his sophomore year receiving votes in his weight class and would be 25th nationally if the individual rankings were extrapolated beyond the Top-10...junior co-captain Dominic Paterra was third on the team last season with 15 victories at 133...the Bulldogs have a 21-freshmen recruiting class in Coach Bill Schindel's second season at the helm.
Heidelberg--Finished in second place in the Ohio Athletic Conference last year...posted 11-4 record in duals, including 5-1 in the OAC...top returners are Hayden Bates at 141 who was 23-3 overall (4-0 in the OAC) and Tyler Hammack at 184 who went 14-5 (3-0).
Henry Ford--Began as a club team in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) in 2013...in the four years in the NCWA, the program produced 22 NCWA national qualifiers and two all-Americans...a first-year varsity team in the NJCAA for 2017-18...the AC Invitational lineup is scheduled to be Hunter Lajiness (125), Santos Alvarez (133), Cameron Wyka (149), Anmar Al-Abolidi (157), Dominic Mancina (165), Luke Rusher (165 or 174), Jordan Hines (184), Colin McFarland (197), Robert Jewell (197) and Devlen Kuschel (285).
John Carroll--JCU was 7-9 in dual-matches a season ago...the Blue Streaks return two All-OAC standouts and a two-time regional placer...junior Jarrad Lasko (149) was 2017 first-team All-OAC while posting a 30-10 overall record and 5-0 OAC dual mark...classmate Mitch Tikkanen (133) finished second on the team with 24 wins in 2016-17, posting a 24-11 overall record and securing second-team All-OAC honors...senior Thomas McNulty is a two-time fifth-place finisher at the regional tournament who finished the 2015-16 season with 33 wins.
Lourdes--This is just the second season of wrestling at Lourdes University...the Gray Wolves went 2-11 in dual matches last season and finished 8th of 11 teams (35.5 pts) at the NAIA Midwest Regional Championships...Ray Porter qualified for the NAIA National Championships at 125 pounds as a freshman...Lourdes returns 12 wrestlers from its inaugural roster last year...Garrett Carter led Lourdes with a 17-9 record last year.
Mott Community College--The junior college is based in Flint...the "Wrestling Bears" will be competing in their 13th season as eastern Michigan's first NCWA collegiate program...the program has produced three national champions including one Most Outstanding Wrestler awardee, 19 All-Americans, 63 national qualifiers and dual-meet all-time record of 93-24...Jeremy Thompson (133), Jerron Thomas (184) and George Laher (285) were 2017 national qualifiers...MCC finished 25th at the NCWA JuCo Championships last season.
Thiel--Sophomore Gage Gladysz leads the Tomcats at 197, where he lists nationally at No. 9 by both D3Wrestle.com and the NWCA...he won 24 matches during his freshman season, the 197 PAC title, placed third at the Division III Mideast Regional Championships and qualified for the NCAAs...Jason Miller also took home the PAC 141 title as a junior, but could also see action here at 149...the institution is based in Greenville, Pa., and competes in the Presidents' Athletic Conference with fellow Adrian Invitational foe Washington & Jefferson College...the Tomcats are coming off a 3-12 dual-match mark, but are predicted to finish second in the 2018 PAC race...Craig Thurber, in his 15th season as head coach of the Tomcats, has led the team to nine of the program's 22 PAC titles.
Wabash--The Little Giants are led by four nationally-ranked wrestlers: sophomore Owen Doster (No. 5 at 133), senior Devin Broukal (No. 2 at 141), junior Griffin Schermer (No. 10 at 149), junior Darden Schurg (No. 5 at 174)...Wabash finished third at the 2017 NCAA Championships in La Crosse, Wis., and start 2018 ranked No. 5 in the NWCA preseason coaches' poll...Wabash was 7-2 in dual matches last season...they captured the 2017 Mid-States Conference Tournament, where Adrian was fourth...the College is an all-male school and is located in Crawfordsville, Ind., and a NCAA III member of the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Washington & Jefferson--Senior Daniel Florentino was one of two NWCA Scholar All-Americans for the Presidents last season, as he finished the season with a 19-8 overall record and tied for the W&J third-most pins at five mostly at 149...sophomore Hunter Neely (22-5) won the 157-pound crown at the PAC Championships last February as the top seed, and W&J was the runner-up in the team standings...the institution is based in Washington, Pa....the Presidents have crowned 13 NCAA All-Americans since 1974.
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