AUSTINTOWN, Ohio -- Mount Union's wrestling team was picked to win the 2019-20 Ohio Athletic Conference title in the annual preseason coaches poll.
Mount Union garnered seven of the eight first place votes and are followed by Baldwin Wallace (42 points) in second while the remaining first place votes went to third place John Carroll (38 points).
Josh Malave enters his fourth season as head coach and the Purple Raiders won every conference match a year ago, placed third at the NCAA Central Regional then had four All-Americans and a national champion on their way to a fifth place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships last March.
The fifth place finish was the best national finish ever for Mount Union and three of those four All-Americans return this season headlined by junior Jordin James (Bedford). James became the third Raider in history to win a national title bringing home the 133-pound crown.
The two other returning All-Americans are juniors in Antwon Pugh (Fairlawn / Copley) and Luke Hernandez (Nashport / Tri-Valley). Pugh was 34-1 with that lone loss coming in the national championship match at 157 pounds a year ago while Hernandez won 31 matches at 149 pounds placing eighth nationally.
Four wrestlers that placed at regionals also return in juniors Nolan Wochna (Brecksville) and Michael McIntire (Wadsworth / Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary) and sophomores David Massey (Cuyahoga Falls / Woodridge) and Landon Talbert (Columbiana / Crestview).
The season begins Saturday, November 2 at the Adrian (Mich.) Invitational while the Raiders host the Mount Union Invitational on Saturday, November 9 at Peterson Field House. The OAC opener is Tuesday, November 19 against Muskingum at home while the other home dates include the Purple Raider Open on January 19, an OAC dual against Otterbein on January 21 and the OAC Duals on January 25. The NCAA Central Regional is at Adrian on February 28-29 while the NCAA Championships are March 13-14 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
2019-20 OAC Wrestling Preseason Coaches Poll
|Rank||School (First Place Votes)||Points|
|1||Mount Union (7)||49|
|3||John Carroll (1)||38|