Date: January 29th, 2016
Location: West Gym, Cedar Falls, IA.
Video: Link ($)
Live Stats: Trackwrestling
Online: Follow us on Twitter, @IAwrestle, for updates during the dual
UNI Panthers 3-5 (2-2 MAC)
125- Leighton Gaul
133- #12 Josh Alber
141- #19 Jake Koethe or Trevor Jauch
149- Jake Hodges
157- Bryce Steiert
165- #13 Cooper Moore
174- Kyle Lux or Drew Foster
184- Kyle Lux or Drew Foster (not a typo)
197- Jared Bartel
285- #17 Blaize Cabell
#20 Central Michigan Chippewas 5-3 (2-1 MAC)
125- Brent Fleetwood
133- Corey Keener
141- #16 Zach Horan
149- #10 Colin Heffernan
157- #12 Luke Smith
165- Jordan Atienza
174- #9 Mike Ottinger
184- Jordan Ellingwood
197- Jackson Lewis
285- Newton Smerchek
The UNI Panthers finally return home after more than a month of wrestling on the road this Friday when they welcome the Central Michigan Chippewas to the West Gym. The dual starts a homestand for UNI that includes four duals in just nine days, three of those being MAC duals and the other against in-state rival Iowa State. CMU is coming off a non-conference loss to Michigan, a dual they dropped 22-12.
The biggest news coming into the dual is that UNI’s senior 184 pounder, Cody Caldwell, will not wrestle another match for the Panthers this season. UNI coach Doug Schwab announced Monday at his press conference that Caldwell has a severe enough neck injury to cost him the rest of his senior year. Caldwell is still with the program and is looking to find ways to stay involved with Panthers.
The most immediate concern for UNI (other than Caldwell’s health) is what do they do at 184 pounds? Luckily the Panthers have a couple options in a pair of 174 pounders: Kyle Lux and Drew Foster. The two have been battling over the 174 pound spot for most of the year, while Foster has bumped up to take Caldwell’s previously held spot once, against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Schwab talked a bit about bumping one of them up on Monday, and if I had to guess I think it would be Foster, as he has the experience doing it, and Lux has started more two more duals at 174 pounds. Schwab could go another way though, and decide to start redshirt freshman Adam Drain, who is already at 184 pounds. Drain is the only other 184 pounder on the roster right now. We’ll see what UNI decides to do going forward, but whomever goes they’ll have the MAC’s fourth ranked wrestler in Jordan Ellingwood, an NCAA qualifier from a year ago.
As for the rest of the lineup UNI will see a tough Central Michigan squad, especially from 141 through 174 pounds. The Chippewas bring in four ranked wresters, and three in the top 12. Their highest ranked wrestler comes in at #9 at 174 pounds, Mike Ottinger. Ottinger is 22-4 on the year, losing only to top ranked Bo Nickal from Penn State (twice), Oklahoma State’s Chandler Rogers, and Indiana’s Nate Jackson.
The only match scheduled to take place between two ranked wrestlers comes at 141, where CMU’s #16 Zach Horan will take on either #19 Jake Koethe or Trevor Jauch for the Panthers. Both men have been splitting time at the weight and no clear leader emerging. With just over a month until the MAC championships, the coaching staff will have to make a decision soon on who will be the starter. Either wrestler that UNI puts out there though is more than capable of getting the win here.
At 157 Bryce Steiert gets another ranked wrestler in #12 Luke Smith. Smith is 21-5 on the year and just knocked off previously ranked #5 Brian Murphy at Michigan 5-4. This would be a huge win for Steiert if he can get it, showing he can hang with the best in the country and the MAC.
There isn’t any word on whether Dylan Peters will go at 125 pounds yet, but Schwab did say this in his press conference on Monday, “Hopefully we’re getting some firepower back in the lineup this week too.” So take that as you will.
Friday night’s dual meet is Military Appreciation night, the third year in a row that UNI has hosted the dual. The Panthers will honor former Panther wrestler Greg White at the dual who served in the armed forces for nearly 25 yeras, and the current wrestlers will wear singlets honoring a branch of the military. We’ll have a live play by play thread Friday night, and we’ll post results on our Twitter page @IAwrestle.