MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Coming off its 13th Mid-American Conference regular season title in program history, the Central Michigan wrestling program was picked to finish sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll released by the conference office Thursday morning.
Based on the 2013-14 preseason weight class individual rankings, the Chippewas were selected sixth with a total of 10 points. The Ohio Bobcats were slated as the preseason favorites in the MAC with 19 points, while new MAC wrestling affiliate Old Dominion was picked second with 17 points. Defending MAC Tournament Champion Missouri was selected third with 15 points, while Northern Iowa (12.5 points) and Kent State (12 points) rounded out the top five.
In the fall of 2012, the MAC announced the addition of Missouri, Northern Iowa and Old Dominion as affiliate members in the sport of wrestling. All three universities joined the MAC with five-year agreements, as Missouri and Northern Iowa joined the MAC for the 2013 conference tournament and then to participate in regular season and tournament action for the next four consecutive years (2013-14 season thru 2016-17 academic season). Old Dominion joins the MAC for the regular season and tournament action this season through the 2017-18 academic season.
The rankings will be released each month throughout the season, with one additional ranking system (two total) in January and February. The 2013-14 preseason rankings, voted on by the league’s head coaches in an open forum are as follows:
2013-14 MAC Weight Class Rankings:
125 – 1. Jerome Robinson (Old Dominion, Junior); 2. Max Soria (Buffalo, Junior); 3. KeVon Powell (Ohio, Sophomore); t4. Jared Germaine (Eastern Michigan, Senior); t4. Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa, Freshman).
133 – 1. Levi Wolfensperger (Northern Iowa, Junior); 2. Joe Roth (Central Michigan, Senior); 3. Scott Festejo (Old Dominion, Senior); 4. Mac McGuire (Kent State, Sophomore).
141 – 1. Joey Lazor (Northern Iowa, Senior); 2. Tyler Small (Kent State, Junior); 3. Chris Mecate (Old Dominion, Sophomore); 4. Kevin Fanta (Northern Illinois, Senior).
149 – 1. Drake Houdashelt (Missouri, Junior); 2. Alexander Richardson (Old Dominion, Sophomore); 3. Scott Mattingly (Central Michigan, Senior); 4. Mike DePalma (Kent State, Sophomore).
157 – 1. Kyle Bradley (Missouri, Senior); 2. Ian Miller (Kent State, Sophomore); 3. Spartak Chino (Ohio, Sophomore); 4. Lucas Smith (Central Michigan, Sophomore).
165 – 1. Zach Toal (Missouri, Senior); 2. Harrison Hightower (Ohio, Junior); 3. Devin Geoghegan (Old Dominion, Sophomore); 4. Sam Bennett (Northern Illinois, Junior).
174 – 1. Cody Walters (Ohio, Sophomore); 2. Mike Ottinger (Central Michigan, Junior); 3. Matt Mougin (Northern Illinois, Senior); 4. Billy Curling (Old Dominion, Senior).
184 – 1. Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa, Senior); 2. Sam Wheeler (Kent State, Sophomore); 3. Phillip Joseph (Eastern Michigan, Senior); 4. Craig Kelliher (Central Michigan, Senior).
197 – 1. Phil Wellington (Ohio, Sophomore); 2. Nick Whitenburg (Eastern Michigan, Senior); 3. Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion, Freshman); 4. Cole Baxter (Kent State, Sophomore).
HWT – 1. Jeremy Johnson (Ohio, Senior); 2. Devin Mellon (Missouri, Junior); 3. Jared Torrence (Northern Illinois, Senior); 4. Matt Tourdot (Old Dominion, Junior).
The preseason team rankings were also decided in the same forum. The nine schools were ranked based on the number of first through fourth-place votes that were earned in the individual voting system. A first-place vote was worth four team points; a second-place vote earned three team points; third-seeded votes were worth two team points, while a fourth-place tally earned one point in the team ranking system. The preseason team rankings for the MAC are as follows:
2013-14 MAC Preseason Poll
1. Ohio (19.0)
2. Old Dominion (17.0)
3. Missouri (15.0)
4. Northern Iowa (12.5)
5. Kent State (12.0)
6. Central Michigan (10.0)
7. Northern Illinois (6.0)
8. Eastern Michigan (5.5)
9. Buffalo (3.0)
The 2014 MAC Wrestling Championships will be held March 8-9 and hosted by Kent State University.