ANDERSON, S.C. – With just three duals left on the 2013-14 schedule, Anderson University wrestling holds its final home dual of the season as the Trojans welcome regional opponent UNC Pembroke for the annual Battle for the Belt on Thursday. First bout from the Abney Athletic Center is slated for 7 p.m.
Anderson begins its final stretch of the season as it continues to prepare for the regional duals beginning on the final day of February. The Trojans close the season with trips to Brewton-Parker and Newberry before heading to the two-day regional qualifier hosted by Tiffin University.
Seeking his second trip to the NCAA Championships in as many years is sophomore Zak Hale who currently leads the team in wins, carrying a 16-4 record and he descends into 133 after competing at 141 for most of the season. Hale came away with a hard-fought 8-7 decision over Coker’s Charlie Huff in his last bout, as the Shaftsbury, Vt. native has earned five pins for the season.
Following Hale in victories is graduate student Zane Newton who has a 14-7 mark for the season. Newton has won three of his last four bouts at 157 including two straight. Also on a winning streak is redshirt senior Cory Monteforte (125), winning three straight bouts headlined by a second period pin over Tiffin’s Kyle Holliday at the Super Region 2 Duals.
UNC Pembroke enters Thursday’s dual with an 8-4 record, pending a result against St. Andrews on Wednesday evening. The Braves have taken seven straight duals, including a first-place finish at the Virginia Duals with wins over Central Florida (41-12), Ferrum (28-13) and Steven Tech (22-15) in the championship round.
Currently, heavyweight Chris Giddens leads the Braves in victories for the season, holding a 19-5 mark, including an 8-1 record in duals. Following the heavyweight is Daniel Ownbey (141) with an 18-6 record Blaze Shade (174) with a record of 17-7.
Ownbey ranks first among UNCP’s attached wrestlers in wins by fall with six, while Shade and Stuart Nadeau (197) follow with five apiece.
The Braves control the all-time series, as they earned their 20th overall and seventh straight win over Anderson last season in a series that dates back to 1991-92. AU seeks to bring the belt back to the Upstate for the first time since the 2005-06 season.