ANDERSON, S.C. – Looking for a fresh new start as the 2014 schedule commences, Anderson University wrestling kicks off the New Year with a trip to the Virginia Duals on Jan. 10-11 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va.
The Trojans begin their tournament campaign on Friday when they takes on Stevens Tech, a
Division III school from Hoboken, N.J. at 11 a.m. Pending the result from the other dual within AU’s bracket, Anderson will face regional foe Limestone or Apprentice School, a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
This will be the second straight year and third time in the last five years the Trojans will square off with Stevens Tech at the Virginia Duals, as AU is seeking its first win over the Ducks in the span. Last season, Stevens Tech came away with a 32-6 win in the opening round of the tournament and eventually went on to win the tournament. Then-freshman Zak Hale was one of two Trojans to post points against the Ducks, as Hale knocked off Ryan Wilson by a 4-3 decision.
Hale is currently on a seven-bout winning streak after beginning the season with three straight setbacks at the Virginia Quad Meet. The Shaftsbury, Vt. native has four wins by major decision this season as he looks to return to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year. Hale is currently chasing graduate student Zane Newton for the most wins on the team, as Newton grabbed a 4-2 decision over Limestone’s Storm Nelson in Anderson’s last dual. Newton is 8-3 on the year and has won three of his last four bouts.
The duo looks to contain Stevens Tech, which carries a 4-2 overall record into the Duals. The Ducks have posted wins over No. 6 The College of New Jersey (24-9) and No. 24 New York University (25-7), which came at the Grapple at the Garden at Madison Square Gardens.
Stevens Tech is led by junior Mike Polizzi, who is ranked No. 8 at 149 in the latest d3wrestle.com poll. Last season, Polizzi went 27-5 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships, where he went 1-2 as the No. 2 seed. Polizzi is slotted to matchup with AU’s Sean Turner, who is currently on a three-bout winning streak.
On the top-half of the bracket, UNC Pembroke will face Central Florida and Ferrum will take on Liberty as both of those first round matches begin at 9 a.m. The Braves headline the bunch as one of nine teams receiving votes in the latest Division II wrestling poll, released by the Division II Wrestling Coaches Association on Friday. Highlighting the lineup has been Daniel Ownbey (141) who is currently ranked sixth nationally at 141 pounds.
Fans can follow all the action from Hampton at virginiaduals.org or following the hashtag on Twitter, #VADuals.