Men’s Wrestling to Get Early Test at Mount Union Invitational Saturday

Sophomore Isaiah Espinoza, a graduate of Adrian High School, has started the season with a 5-0 record and the 285-pound title at the Adrian Bulldogs Invitational. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Sophomore Isaiah Espinoza, a graduate of Adrian High School, has started the season with a 5-0 record and the 285-pound title at the Adrian Bulldogs Invitational. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

ADRIAN, Mich. — Adrian College men's wrestling head coach Bill Schindel understands that you don't win championships in November. 

But that doesn't mean Saturday's Mount Union Invitational doesn't have something on the line for the Bulldogs. There will be a mix of NCAA Division II and Division III teams competing inside Peterson Field House. The No. 5-ranked D-III Mount Union leads the way, but the 12-team field also includes nationally-ranked D-II teams No. 23 Gannon and No. 24 Bellarmine. 

"The biggest thing for us is we're still looking to continue to get better. Good teams can have good showings every now and then. Great teams find a way to be great every weekend," Schindel said. "That's what I am looking for. Can we be great again? At the end of the day, we've just got to be consistent. If we can be consistent then we can be a great team."

The Bulldogs will have 38 wrestlers take to the mat after the placing 19 and finishing runner-up at its own tournament a week ago. 

There will be two divisions in the tournament — including a division for freshmen — and there will be no team scoring. 

"I would say the freshmen really wrestled very well. I want to see them continue to progress," Schindel said. "The competition is a little bit better. I enjoy the fact that we have two divisions. Let's see how we do."

Schindel said his goal is to have 20 wrestlers place on Saturday — that would be one more than last weekend. 

"I want to see can we place 20 kids at a little bit tougher tournament," he said. "Then that means there's 20 kids who can really wrestle. I believe that we can. The thing I am looking forward to the most in the depth that we have in the room and that we continue to progress."

One Bulldog who started the season on fire is 149-pounder Noah Nieman. The junior from Blissfield High School was named the first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Wrestler of the Week for the 2019-20 season after he went 4-0 and won his weight class at the Adrian Invitational. It was the second time in Nieman's career that he was honored by the MIAA.

"It's always great to see a local kid get a pretty big honor," Schindel said. "We know Lenawee County produces some great kids and hopefully we can continue to get some of those great kids at Adrian College."

In addition, junior Devon Pingel (197) and sophomore Isaiah Espinoza (285) have started 4-0 and 5-0, respectively, after capturing their weight classes during Adrian's own Bulldogs Invitational to open the season last Saturday.

--Dominic Adams, Special to AdrianBulldogs.com

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