ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio wrestling team is set to begin the 2019-20 season on Saturday (Nov. 2) as it visits East Lansing, Mich., for the Michigan State Open.
Action begins at Jenison Field House with preliminary rounds beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET. The semifinals are set to begin at approximately 3 p.m. ET with the finals to follow. The tournament will be a double elimination event with no team scores. Each wrestler will wrestle a maximum of six matches. Fans can follow along at TrackWrestling (gold, with a fee).
The 2019 edition of the MSU Open is one of the largest to date, with 450 participants from 31 teams around the country making the trek to East Lansing for the all-day event. Highlighted by 18 Division I schools, the MSU Open will have both an open division for college and post-college wrestlers and a freshman/sophomore division.
Ohio will be taking part in the MSU Open for the second year in a row to open up a new season.
"One, they have a freshman/sophomore division, so you can take a lot of your young guys and enter them into the freshman/sophomore division. Two, I just think it's good competition as far as you'll see some Big Ten teams, you'll see some Big 12 teams, you'll see some of the best teams in the midwest in that tournament," said 23rd-year head coach Joel Greenlee of what makes the MSU Open an attractive event to begin the season at. "It's a good way to give yourself a measuring stick: Where am I at? What do I need to do? What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? I think it's good for the student-athletes. Really, for the last month, you've been wrestling guys in your own wrestling room. Are you having success or are you not having success? If you're having success, that doesn't mean you're going to have success against other guys. So, maybe you're not doing the right things. Maybe you're just beating up on some guys that aren't that good. I think it's really telling as far as conditoning goes, as far as technique goes, all those things."
The following Bobcats are making the trip to East Lansing for the MSU Open:
125 - R-Jr. Trevor Giallombardo/R-Fr. Derek Giallombardo
133 - R-Jr. Mario Guillen
141 - R-So. Kyran Hagan/R-Sr. Shakur Laney/R-So. Moises Guillen
149 - R-So. Alec Hagan
157 - R-Sr. Zac Carson
165 - R-Jr. Joe Terry
174 - So. Logan Stanley/R-Fr. Blake Wilson/R-Jr. Ben Schneider
184 - Sr. Hunter Yeargan/R-So. Mason Kroening
197 - Jr. Aaron Naples/R-Jr. Jake Walker
285 - R-Fr. Jordan Earnest
The Bobcats saw nine individuals earn top-five finishes at the MSU Open a year ago, highlighted by then-redshirt sophomore Mario Guillen (Perrysburg, Ohio) winning at 133 in the open bracket. The open bracket also saw then-sophomore Aaron Naples (Brunswick, Ohio) take third at 197 while then-redshirt freshman Moises Guillen (Perrysburg, Ohio) took fifth at 141 and then-redshirt freshman Alec Hagan (Eureka, Mo.) finished fifth at 149. Then-freshman Giovanni Disabato (Hilliard, Ohio) placed third at 125 in the freshman/sophomore bracket while then-redshirt freshman Sam Meddings (Fairfield, Ohio) took third at 149 and then-redshirt freshman Mason Kroening (Aurora, Ill.) placed fourth at 197.
The Bobcats have gone 222-163-5 under the direction of Greenlee who was inducted into the Ohio Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame last month.
Per the Mid-American Conference's weight class individual rankings and team rankings, Ohio enters the new year ranked 10th as a team. Five Bobcats are ranked in their respective weight classes. Mario Guillen is ranked fourth at 133 pounds, Hagan is ranked fifth at 149 pounds, redshirt senior Zac Carson (Akron, Ohio) is ranked tied for fifth at 157 pounds, redshirt junior Joe Terry (Pickerington, Ohio) is ranked sixth at 165 pounds and senior Hunter Yeargan (Willard, Mo.) is ranked sixth at 184 pounds.
Carson and Guillen return to the Bobcats after qualifying for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh.
Carson went 19-11 overall with a 9-2 dual record and a 4-2 mark in MAC competition. Competing at 157 pounds in his first season at Ohio after transferring from Eastern Michigan, Carson qualified for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships as an at-large selection after placing sixth in his weight class at the 2019 MAC Championships.
Guillen went 17-5 overall with a 7-1 dual record and a perfect 5-0 mark in MAC competition at 133 pounds. Guillen qualified for the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships as an at-large selection after placing fourth in his weight classes at the 2019 MAC Championships.
"I think both of those guys, you have to start thinking about being an All-American, being a national champion," said Greenlee. "I think Zac has put in a great summer and has gotten better in positions that he needed to get better in, developed what he's good at and made that better. I think the same thing of Mario. He's a guy that can be on the podium in March."
The Bobcats will host their first home dual meet of season on Nov. 10 when they welcome Campbell to the Convocation Center. Action is set to get underway at 4 p.m. ET.