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2012-13 AWN Mid-American Conference Preview

Well the season is just around the corner and we are looking forward to it. We now start our conference by conference preview. Online you will find the conference by conference individual breakdowns. Our team portion of the preview will be available in Amateur Wrestling News, both print and digital copies.

The MAC in recent years has continued to improve and make some noise come March. This year in the MAC there is a good mix of newcomers and veterans. That combination should make things interesting. The conference was dominated by Central Michigan in the past, but teams like Kent State, Ohio and Buffalo are pushing back bringing in solid recruiting classes.

Central Michigan should be the team to beat as they reload with some wrestlers coming off of redshirt. Ohio goes young and Kent State gets a National Champion back.

Lets get started; first we will look at the numbers, than the individuals.

The Numbers

Teams: Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Ohio

Returning National Champs: 1
Returning 2011 All-Americans: 5
Returning National Champion: Dustin Kilgore (KSU)

Returning MAC Champions (2012) *weight listed is the weight the won

  • 125 – Joe Roth (CMU)
  • 141 – Tyler Small (KSU)
  • 157 – Donnie Corby (CMU)
  • 165 – Mike Ottinger (CMU
  • 184 – Ben Bennett (CMU)
  • 197 – Keith Witt (KSU)
  • 285 – Jeremy Johnson (Ohio)

125

  • Joe Roth, CMU
  • Jared Germaine, EMU
  • Steve Mitcheff, KSU
  • Max Soria, Buffalo
  • Derek Elmore, NIU
  • Tyler Heminger, Ohio

Roth of Central Michigan comes in as the favorite and returning conference champion. He surprised many of us last year and if he builds upon the success he had, he should be very tough this year. The two biggest threats, at least how we see it before the season starts will be Germaine (EMU) and Mitcheff (KSU). There is a third guy who will come into the picture second semester and that would be Ty Mitch who transferred to Ohio from Virginia Tech. Germaine was the runner-up to Roth last year and Germaine went 1-2 at nationals. Mitcheff comes down from 133 where he had his struggles while wrestling up a weight. We expect him to find more success down at his natural weight. Then you have Mitch. He is coming off a decent year and should fit well in this group.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Joe Roth – CMU
  2. Jared Gemaine, EMU
  3. Ty Mitch, Ohio
  4. Steve Mitcheff, KSU

133

  • Scott Sentes, CMU
  • Nick Smith, NIU
  • Justin Farmer, Buffalo
  • Kyle Bauer, Kent State
  • Garrett Garness, Ohio
  • Vincent Pizzuto, E. Michigan

The news here is that All-American Scotti Sentes returns to the line-up for the Chippewa’s. Sentes looks to end his career being in the hunt for a national title come March. We would be shocked to see him get knocked off here. After him this weight is pretty wide open. Nick Smith of Northern Illinois moves up from 125. He placed fourth in the conference tournament last year. He did have some nice wins last year and if he has the size he should be in the mix. Farmer was ok last year but would need to improve. Two wrestlers coming off redshirt could make some noise and that would be Bauer of Kent State and Garness of Ohio. Bauer posted a 12-7 record as a redshirt and Garness went 9-9. Depending on the level of improvement, they could be factors.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Scott Sentes, CMU
  2. Nick Smith, NIU
  3. Garrett Garness – Ohio
  4. Kyle Bauer – KSU

141

  • Tyler Small, KSU
  • Kevin Fanta, NIU
  • Scott Mattingly, CMU
  • Andrew Schutt, Buffalo
  • Jake Wojcik, Ohio
  • Mike LeHolm, EMU

This may be one of the deeper weight classes in the conference with four returning NCAA qualifiers. Leading the way is the 2012 conference champion, Tyler Small of Kent State. Small had an impressive tournament last year and should be improved upon that effort. He went 2-2 at last year’s nationals and posted a 32-11 record. Small should be the one to beat this year. Fanta was second to Small and earned a spot in the big show. Fanta won his true second by medical forfeit over Mattingly. He posted a 15-7 record last season and went 0-2 at nationals. He should take another step forward this year. Mattingly still made it to nationals where he went 1-2. He only posted a 16-24 record, but peaked at the right time. Adding to the mix is Buffalo’s Schutt. Schutt was on redshirt last season. In 2011 he was a MAC champion and an NCAA qualifier.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Tyler Small, KSU
  2. Andrew Schutt, Buffalo
  3. Kevin Fanta, NIU
  4. Scott Mattingly, CMU

149

  • Donnie Corby, CMU
  • Blake Roulo, Buffalo
  • Andrew Romanchik, Ohio
  • Nick Carr, KSU
  • Shawn Fayett, NIU
  • Jaylyn Bohl, E. Michigan

The news here is that returning champion at 157, Donnie Corby, comes down to the lower weight. One would think that gives him an advantage. Most likely this is the case, unless for some reason the cut has an impact on him. We are going with the idea that he is a returning champion and down a weight, this making him the one to beat. Blake Roulo is coming off a very solid freshman campaign and should be right there in the mix for the title. Roulo posted a 23-13 record last year. His weight only had one NCAA qualifier so he missed out on the big show, but we suspect he will be looking for that birth this year. Andrew Romanchik of Ohio should not be counted out either. He was fourth at this weight last year, but only dropped a 2-1 decision to Roulo. With another year of training under his belt, he should be in the thick of it as well.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Donnie Corby, CMU
  2. Blake Roulo, Buffal0
  3. Andrew Romanchik, Ohio
  4. Nick Carr, KSU

157

  • Aaron Sulzer, EMU
  • Mallie Shuster, KSU
  • Luke Smith, CMU
  • Wally Mazierz, Buffalo
  • Sparty Chino, Ohio
  • Eddie Breen, NIU

Eastern Michigan’s Aaron Sulzer was last year’s runner-up at this weight. Sulzer is coming off a 20-11 season that saw him qualify for nationals where he went 1-2. He split matches last season with Shuster from Kent State. Shuster is also coming off a strong season that saw him post a 26-17 record. He had two wins last year over Demas of Ohio State and another over Green from Nebraska. Not bad at all and if he takes a step forward this season he should be right in the mix for a title here. The guy to keep your eye on  is Luke Smith out of Central Michigan. Smith had a very good year going 32-8 in his redshirt year. We have to assume he will improve with another year, keep your eye on this guy. Not only does Spartacus Chino have one of the coolest names in wrestling he is also another young wrestler to watch. He went 19-7 in his redshirt campaign and should show improvement this season.

* Ian Miller of Kent State may redshirt and was left off these previews.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Aaron Sulzer, EMU
  2. Luke Smith, CMU
  3. Mallie Shuster, KSU
  4. Sparty Chino, Ohio

165

  • Mike Ottinger, CMU
  • Mark Lewandowski, Buffalo
  • Harrison Hightower, Ohio
  • Caleb Marsh, KSU
  • Alan Constable, EMU
  • Sam Bennett, NIU

Mike Ottinger won the conference as a true freshman last year and will look to repeat again this season. He turned in a great rookie season that resulted in a 23-10 record. This guy is a real strong wrestler that should show technical improvement this season. He will have to get by the same person he did last year and that is Lewandowski of Buffalo. Lewandowski is coming off a 29-8 season. He will be looking to not only improve his record but also to reach the podium in Des Moines. Harrison Hightower was fourth last year at 157 and moves up this year. Hightower went 20-16 as a first year starter. If he makes the progress he should have, he should be able to improve upon last year. Kent State has high hopes for Caleb Marsh this season. Marsh was lightly wrestled last season posting a 9-4 record. He may be the one to upset the apple cart, but we will have to wait and see. Ortman went 10-4 last year in open competition and Bennett posted a 4-6 record.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Mike Ottinger, CMU
  2. Mark Lewandowski, Buffalo
  3. Caleb Marsh, KSU
  4. Harrison Hightower, Ohio

174

  • John-Martin Cannon, Buffalo
  • Craig Kelliher, CMU
  • Caleb Busson, NIU
  • Sam Wheeler, KSU
  • Cody Walters, Ohio
  • Phillip Joseph, EMU

John-Martin Cannon leads the way at 174 pounds. Cannon is a two-time NCAA qualifier that has some impressive wins over the past few years. He took his redshirt last season where he had an impressive 21-4 record in open tournaments. We expect him to have a solid year again and should be in the mix at nationals for All-American honors. Kelliher moves back down to more of his natural weight after spending last season at 197. He did place third at that weight at the MAC Championships. If he handles the weight drop he should be right there at the end the season. Busson was fourth at this weight last year and is actually the highest returning place winning at this weight. To make any noise this year he will have to improve upon his 11-15 record from a year ago. The spoiler at this weight may be Wheeler of Kent State. The University of Oklahoma transfer posted a 5-1 record as a redshirt and has some great upside. Look for him to be in contention here. Another dark horse here could be Ohio’s Walters who went 21-10 in his redshirt year.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

1. John-Martin Cannon, Buffalo
2. Sam Wheeler, KSU
3. Craig Kelliher, CMU
4. Cody Walters, Ohio

184

  • Ben Bennett, CMU
  • Ryan Garringer, Ohio
  • Casey Newburg, KSU
  • Jarred Lux, Buffalo
  • Mike Curby, EMU
  • Shane Rosenberry, NIU

Bennett is the returning champion and three time All-American. As you can imagine he will be tough to knock off. His only losses last year came at the hands of the best in the country and yes Bennett is in that group as well. He will be looking not only to become a four-time All-American, but a national champion as well. Garringer is coming off a really good season that saw him qualify for the NCAA tournament. His season started a little slow, but he improved throughout the year, if he can continue down that road he should have a solid season. Newburg also put together a nice 30-13 record last year. Newburg is solid, but needs to find a way to get past Garringer whom he split matches with last year.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Ben Bennett, CMU
  2. Ryan Garringer, Ohio
  3. Casey Newburg, KSU
  4. Mike Curby, EMU

197

  • Dustin Kilgore, KSU
  • Nick Whitenburg, EMU
  • Parker Settecase, NIU
  • Jackson Lewis, CMU
  • Beau Wenger, Ohio
  • Angelo Malvestuto, Buffalo

Dustin Kilgore is your headlining act here. The 2011 NCAA National Champion comes back after an Olympic year. We expect him to be right on track and in the hunt for his second national title. Whitenburg was the runner-up last season and posted a solid 20-8 record. He will be looking to earn a birth to the big show this year. Settecase is interesting here as he comes down from heavyweight, where he won some decent matches. Keep an eye on him. After that it is wide open at this weight.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Dustin Kilgore, KSU
  2. Nick Whitenburg, EMU
  3. Parker Settecase, NIU
  4. Beau Wenger, Ohio

285

  • Jared Trice, CMU
  • Jeremy Johnson, Ohio
  • Keith Witt, KSU
  • Jared Torrence, NIU
  • David Box, EMU
  • Jedd Mason, Buffalo

With Trice returning from his Olympic redshirt, he becomes the front runner. He is a two-time All-American and will be in the hunt for a title this year. He will first have to get past another All-American in Johnson of Ohio. Johnson had a terrific season last year and wrestled very well at Nationals. He will also be in the hunt for a national title. If these two meet in the finals it should be a great match. Last years conference champion at 197 moves up to heavyweight. Keith Witt of Kent State will make the move and hope to find similar success. We will be honest he has a tough road ahead of him to do so, but that is why we wrestle the matches.

TOM’s conference tournament predictions

  1. Jared Trice, CMU
  2. Jeremy Johnson, Ohio
  3. Keith Witt, KSU
  4. Jared Torrence, NIU

As we stated if you want our team by team breakdown look for it in the next issue of Amateur Wrestling News!

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