Mount Pleasant, Mich. - The defending Mid-American Conference regular season champion Central Michigan wrestling program will begin its quest for a 16th regular-season title Sunday afternoon when it hosts Buffalo inside McGuirk Arena at 2 p.m.
The Chippewas (4-3) were picked to finish sixth in the MAC preseason poll, while the Bulls (1-2) was picked to finish ninth. Buffalo will open MAC competition Saturday at Kent State.
Follow the Action: Live stats will be provided through Trackwrestling.com and a live video feed of the dual can be watched through the CMU Sports Zone (subscription needed). Results will also be posted on the Chippewas' official Facebook page and tweeted @CMUWrestling.
MAC Rankings: Five Chippewas were ranked in the top four of their respective weight class in the November coaches' rankings. Senior Joe Roth (133), sophomore Zach Horan (141) and junior Mike Ottinger (174) were ranked second in the conference, while senior Scott Mattingly (149) was tied for third and sophomore Lucas Smith (157) was fourth.
Preseason MAC Poll: Despite winning their 15th regular-season title in program history last season, CMU was picked to finish sixth in a tight preseason coaches' poll. Just nine points separated the Chippewas from MAC preseason favorite Ohio. Wrestling affiliates Missouri, Old Dominion and Northern Iowa are all in their first season of competition in the MAC.
Keener Garnering Attention: With a pair of upset victories and an 11-1 start, redshirt freshman Corey Keener has grabbed the attention of national voters at 125 pounds. Keener currently ranks No. 13 in the country according to InterMat and is ranked No. 9 by Amateur Wrestling News.
In the Rankings: In addition to Keener's recent rise to the rankings, the Chippewas' lineup features three other wrestlers ranked in the top 14 nationally by InterMat. Both Roth and Ottinger are currently ranked No. 12 in the country, while Horan is slotted a the No. 14 wrestler at 141 pounds.
125: No. 13 Corey Keener, RFr. (10-1) vs. Max Soria, Jr. (8-4)
133: No. 12 Joe Roth, Sr. (4-2) vs. Justin Farmer, Sr. (6-6)
141: No. 14 Zach Horan, So. (11-1) vs. Nick Flannery, Sr. (8-4)
149: Scott Mattingly, Sr. (9-5) vs. Ryan Todora, Fr. (4-7)
157: Lucas Smith, So. (1-4) vs. John Northrup, RFr. (6-6)
165: Nick Becker, RFr. (6-5) OR Zack Cline, Sr. (3-2) vs. Wally Maziarz, Jr. (4-4)
174: No. 12 Mike Ottinger, Jr. (10-2) vs. Tyler Rill, RFr. (3-5)
184: Craig Kelliher, Sr. (2-4) OR Austin Severn, RFr. (2-5) vs. Tony Lock, So. (6-4)
197: Jackson Lewis, So. (7-5) vs. Angelo Malvestuto, Jr. (7-5)
285: Adam Robinson, So. (4-6) vs. James Benjamin, Fr. (4-7)
Looking Ahead: CMU will be on the road until Friday, Jan. 17 as it will battle Michigan (Dec. 15), Northern Illinois (Dec. 21) and Northern Iowa (Jan. 11) in duals over the next month. The Chippewas will also compete in the Southern Scuffle on New Years Day in Chattanooga, Tenn.