NEW YORK - The Columbia wrestling team is set to begin the 2012-13 campaign this Sunday, Nov. 11, when the Lions travel to East Lansing, Mich. to compete at the Michigan State Open.
Sunday's all-day event at the Spartan's Jenison Field House will feature nearly 30 teams and upwards of 500 wrestlers competing across two divisions. The Michigan State Open features a freshman/sophomore division and an open division, providing the opportunity for nearly each wrestler on a school's roster to compete early in the season.
The Michigan State Open will provide Columbia the opportunity to go up against some of the best talent in the nation, as seven ranked schools are to be in attendance. The participating ranked schools include: No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Illinois, No. 13 Michigan, No. 14 Northwestern, No. 17 Central Michigan, No. 18 Pittsburgh and No. 22 Kent State.
This year's field also includes: Cleveland State, Eastern Michigan, Edinboro, Findlay, Grand Valley State, Harper College (Ill.), Indiana Techm Indiana, IUPFW, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame (Ohio), Ohio Northern, Ohio, Olivet, Purdue, Tiffin, Trine, USMA Prep School, Waubonsee CC, Wisconsin-Parkside.
TrackWrestling.com will provide live brackets of the event.
At last year's tournament, the Lions had nine student-athletes place. Returners Jake O'Hara (157 pounds) and Nick Mills (184 pounds) both placed fourth in the open division, while six Lions placed in the freshman/sophomore division. Shane Hughes, who will see most of his time this season at 184 pounds, came in first in the 197 pound weight class last year.
Carl Fronhofer, the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling, enters his second season at the helm of Columbia's wrestling program. Fronhofer and the Lions will look to improve on last season's 8-5 dual match record and sixth-place showing at the EIWA Championships.
Columbia has the benefit of experience and senior leadership on the 2012-13 squad, with six seniors and two juniors in the projected lineup heading into the season. Captains O'Hara, Steve Santos (149 pounds) and Stephen West (174 pounds) will anchor the squad, while Robert Dyar (125 pounds), Andrew Grabfelder (133 pounds) and Mills (197 pounds) add to the senior laden lineup.
Santos and O'Hara, each NCAA qualifiers from a year ago, enter the season ranked 15th in their respective weight classes entering the 2012-13 season by InterMat.
Michigan State Open
125 - Robert Dyar
133 - Andrew Grabfelder
141 - Ryan Ponte
149 - Steve Santos
157 - Jake O'Hara, Connor Sutton, Jacob Marks, Jake Kazimir, Chad Ryan
165 - Adam Fondale, Tom Di Vitantonio, Andrew Barth, Kevin Brown
174 - Stephen West, Ryan Doyle, Austin Coniker
184 - Shane Hughes, Zack Hernandez, Drew Rebling
285 - Chris Manna