#8 Wrestling Heads to OAC Championships Saturday

#8 Wrestling Heads to OAC Championships Saturday

Mount Union's wrestling team, ranked No. 8 in the nation, compete this Saturday at the 2011 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships at Ohio Northern University in Ada.

The winners of each of the 10 weight classes plus an at-large selection will earn automatic bids to the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships that will be March 11-12 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Follow all the action from the mats with updates on Mount Union's Twitter page @purpleraiders and an official website that has bracket updates and LIVE VIDEO of the finals.

Mount Union is a perfect 14-0 on the season and won the OAC regular season championship with a 6-0 record.

Projected Mount Union Lineup
125 Riki Reynolds - 21-6, 6-0 OAC
133 Colin Dennis - 19-9, 5-1 OAC
141 Josh Malave - 28-6, 6-0 OAC
149 Kevin Shadrach - 23-9, 6-0 OAC
157 Joe Spooner - 24-13, 5-1 OAC
165 John Piechuta - 13-12, 4-2 OAC
174 Jeremy Hathaway - 15-11, 1-2 OAC
184 Andy Jenkins - 21-11, 4-0 OAC
197 Bill Schindel - 24-1, 5-0 OAC
285 Derick Hesson - 23-7, 6-0 OAC

Mount Union has won 10 OAC Tournament titles (1974, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997) and finished second nine other times including each of the last two seasons.  The OAC began rewarding a regular season title in 2000 and Mount Union won its first this past season (2011).

The Raiders have won a record six-straight titles from 1985-1990.  Heidelberg enters this week's OAC Championships winners of five-straight titles (2006-2010).

Schindel, Reynolds and Malave Nationally Ranked
Mount Union senior Bill Schindel at 197, sophomore Riki Reynolds at 125 and junior Josh Malave at 141 are all nationally ranked entering the OAC Championships. 

Schindel, a two-time All-American, is ranked No. 4 at 197 and is 24-1 this season.  His only loss on the season was in the title match of the Pete Willson/Wheaton Invite against Deron Winn from nationally ranked NCAA D-II Lindenwood (Mo.).  He is a two-time defending OAC Champion at 197.     

Reynolds, who won the 125 pound OAC title and advanced to the NCAA Championships as a true freshman a year ago.  He is ranked No. 4 and is 21-6 on the season.

Malave has a team-best 28 wins on the season (28-6 record) at 141 and placed second at the OAC Championships in 2010.

Three other nationally ranked wrestlers will be in action at the OAC Championships this weekend as Kyle Kwiat of Ohio Northern is ranked No. 1 at 174 while Luke Miller of Ohio Northern and Matt Curley of Heidelberg are ranked No. 6 and No. 8 respectively at 165. 

What to Watch For ...
A host of returning placewinners from last year all return to compete again this year at the OAC Championships.

At 125 both defending champion Riki Reynolds of Mount Union and runner-up Wilmington's Donny Herrington return.  Reynolds, ranked No. 4 in the nation and 6-0 this season, won the regular season matchup between the duo. Also in this class is John Cobos of John Carroll, who was 4-2 in the OAC this season and Ohio Northern's Jerry Pasquale is 4-1 in the conference. 

At 133 defending champ Tom D'Alessandro of Heidelberg is back along with Muskingum's Michael Halko, who placed fourth last year are both back.  Others to watch here are Baldwin-Wallace's Phil Payne, 5-1 in the OAC, with that loss coming to Mount Union's Colin Denis, also 5-1 in the OAC. 

At 141 runner-up Josh Malave of Mount Union comes back.  David Malkus of John Carroll finished third at this weight in 2010 but has competed at 149 this year.  Malave is 6-0 in the OAC this season and J.P. Hoopes is 4-1 with that lone defeat a 3-1 loss to Malave. 

At 149, Andrew Johnson of Heidelberg, 4-2 this season in the OAC, was the runner-up in 2010 while two other placewinners from a year ago have moved up as John Carroll's Connor Suba, third a year ago, is now at 157 and Ohio Northern's Mick Letcher, fourth in 2010, is at 165.  Another to watch here is Kevin Shadrach of Mount Union who is 6-0 in the OAC this season.

Ohio Northern's Luke Miller won the 157 title and was the OAC Wrestler of the Meet a year ago but he has moved on to 165.  John Carroll's Vince Pizzuli was fourth last year at 157 a year ago is only other returning placewinner in the class.  Mount Union's Joe Spooner is 5-1 this season at 157 with his only loss coming to Heidelberg's Jason Barnett, who is 3-1 in the OAC.

With the addition of Miller, the 165 bracket is loaded with returners that include defending champion Matt Curley of Heidelberg along with third place finisher Sean Gill of John Carroll and fourth place finisher Korey Leonard of Baldwin-Wallace.  Miller and Curley both enter OAC Championships ranked No. 6 and No. 8 in the nation respectively.

At 174, defending champion and current No. 1 in the nation Kyle Kwiat is back along with third place finisher Andrew Scavuzzo of Baldwin-Wallace.  Scavuzzo, 6-0 in the OAC this season, and Kwiat did not wrestle against each other this season.  Kwiat took only one loss in the OAC and that was at 184 to Mount Union's Andy Jenkins.

The third and fourth place finishers from a year ago at 184 in Andy Jenkins of Mount Union and Matt Alexander of Ohio Northern are both back.  Also in this weight class is Baldwin-Wallace's Joe Georgian, who went 5-1 and took his only loss in the OAC to Jenkins.

Two-time defending champion Bill Schindel of Mount Union and third place finisher Tristan Stoll of Baldwin-Wallace headline the 197 class.  Schindel, ranked No. 4 in the nation, went 5-0 in OAC matches and handed Stoll his only defeat in the conference, 10-1.

At 285, last year's runner up Derick Hesson of Mount Union and fourth place Justin Southwick of Ohio Northern are both back.  Hesson is undefeated in the conference this year including a 6-0 win over Southwick. 

A reminder if you can't be in Ada, the finals will be featured on an online video webcast.

Training Facility To Be Dedicated to Gorman
The athletic training facility within the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex at Mount Union will be named in honor of director of the athletic training program Dan Gorman.  Gorman was tragically killed in an accident involving the bus bringing the wrestling team back from Ohio Northern on Tuesday, Jan. 11.