MAC Preview: Host Buffalo Looking to Capture Automatic NCAA Bids on Sunday

 
 
It’s Missouri’s first year in the MAC and the former Big 12 school comes into the conference tournament as the favorite. The Tigers feature six wrestlers pre-seeded #1 with the four other starters all in the top 4 in their classes.

For Buffalo, the host team, a trio of NCAA qualifiers look to return to the biggest tournament of the year.  In the 2012 MAC tournament, Max Soria rode a strong performance to a fourth place finish and a spot at Nationals.  The 125-pound bracket once again has four automatic bids this year and Soria earned the fifth seed.  The field is challenging, led by the nation’s #1 grappler, Alan Waters of Missouri as well as top 20 competitor Christian Cullinan of Central Michigan.  Soria lost 2-0 to Cullinan but hasn’t faced Waters or the other two wrestlers seeded above him, Steve Mitcheff of Kent State and Jared Germaine of Eastern Michigan, this season.  Can he make another strong March run to get back to Nationals?

Lewandowski, Photo by BV

Joining Soria at the NCAAs a year ago was 165-pounder Mark Lewandowski.  To get a guaranteed spot at that event again, the senior, who is 28-6 this season, will need to place first or second.  The Buffalo wrestler received the #3 seed, with Central Michigan’s Mike Ottinger and Missouri’s Zach Toal above him.  He has had a number of tight battles with Ottinger, including a 2-1 loss earlier this campaign. Head coach Jim Beichner felt early on that Lewandowski could make some noise in March, as he did when he came within one victory of All-America status a few years ago.

Another wrestler who could make his presence felt in Des Moines is 174-pounder John-Martin Cannon.  The senior has been hampered with injuries this season, but is looking to make a run in his last weeks of college wrestling.  He is seeded fourth in a class that has qualified five spots for Nationals.  The bracket is full of solid wrestlers, as six different entrants have been in the national rankings at some point this season.

While 174 pounds will send a number of grapplers forward, there is just one automatic slot at 141.  That was earned for the conference by Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor.  Looking to take that spot away is Buffalo’s Erik Galloway, who moved up from 133 in mid-January.  The transfer from Pittsburgh recently defeated the third seed Kevin Fanta of Northern Illinois.

Another transfer, Angelo Malvestuto (from Virginia Tech), missed a portion of the season, but recently returned to the lineup at 197.  He sits in the #5 position and is looking to finish a few places higher, as the top three advance to Des Moines.

Also aiming to finish high on the podium this weekend for Buffalo will be 149-pounder Blake Ruolo, who was pre-seeded sixth as well as those sitting in the seventh slot for the Bulls – Justin Farmer (133), Wally Maziarz (157), Tony Lock (184) and Justin Heiserman (heavyweight).

Wrestling will begin on Sunday, March 10 with quarterfinal action at 10 a.m. at Alumni Arena on Buffalo’s campus.  The finals are scheduled for 5:20 p.m..

MAC Pre-Seeds Are Released; Galloway, Lewandowski and Cannon in the Top Four for Host Buffalo

(Courtesy of buffalobulls.com)

The following are the pre-seeds for the MAC Championships, which will be held in Buffalo this weekend.  Leading the way for the Bulls are Erik Galloway (#2 at 141), Mark Lewandowski (#3 at 165) and John-Martin Cannon (#4 at 174).  Returning NCAA qualifier Max Soria (125) and Angelo Malvestuto (197) are both pre-seeded fifth.

The full list is below:

125:
1) Alan Waters, Missouri
2) Christian Cullinan, Central Michigan
3) Steve Mitcheff, Kent State
4) Jared Germaine, Eastern Michigan
5) Max Soria, Buffalo
6) Ryan Jauch, Northern Iowa
7) Kevon Powell, Ohio
8)Derek Elmore, Northern Illinois

133:
1) Nathan McCormick, Mizzouri
2) Scotti Sentes, Central Michigan
3) Levi Wolfensperger, Northern Iowa
4) Nick Smith, Northern Illinois
5) Mackenzie McGuire, Kent State
6) Vince Pizzuto, Eastern Michigan
7) Justin Farmer, Buffalo
8)Joey Munoz, Ohio

141:
1) Joey Lazor, Northern Iowa
2) Erik Galloway, Buffalo
3) Kevin Fanta, Northern Illinois
4) Nick Hucke, Missouri
5) Scott Mattingly, Central Michigan
6) Seth Schaner, Eastern Michigan
7) Dillon Kern, Kent State
8)Kagan Squire, Ohio

149:
1) Drake Houdasheldt, Missouri
2) Donnie Corby, Central Michigan
3) Bart Reiter, Northern Iowa
4) Andrew Romanchik, Ohio
5) Rob Jillard, Northern Illinois
6) Blake Roulo, Buffalo
7) Mike Shaw, Eastern Michigan
8)Andrew Candillo, Kent State

157:
1) Kyle Bradley, Missouri
2) David Bonin, Northern Iowa
3) Aaron Sulzer, Eastern Michigan
4) Spartak Chino, Ohio
5) Lucas Smith, Central Michigan
6) Andrew Morse, Northern Illinois
7) Wally Maziarz, Buffalo
8)Tommy Sasfy, Kent State

165:
1) Mike Ottinger, Central Michigan
2) Zach Toal, Missouri
3) Mark Lewandowski, Buffalo
4) Caleb Marsh, Kent State
5) Harrison Hightower, Ohio
6) Jake Davis, Eastern Michigan
7) Sam Bennett, Northern Illinois
8)Jarrett Jensen, Northern Iowa

174:
1) Todd Porter, Missouri
2) Cody Walters, Ohio
3) Sam Wheeler, Kent State
4) John-Martin Cannon, Buffalo
5) Craig Kelliher, Central Michigan
6) Cody Caldwell, Northern Iowa
7) Matt Mougin, Northern Illinois
8)Phillip Joseph, Eastern Michigan

184:
1) Ben Bennett, Central Michigan
2) Ryan Loder, Northern Iowa
3) Mike Larson, Missouri
4) Casey Newburg, Kent State
5) Michael Duckworth, Ohio
6) Khodor Hoballah, Eastern Michigan
7) Tony Lock, Buffalo
8)Bryan Loughlin, Northern Illinois

197:
1) Dustin Kilgore, Kent State
2) Brent Haynes, Missouri
3) Nick Whitenburg, Eastern Michigan
4) Phillip Wellington, Ohio
5) Angelo Malvestuto, Buffalo
6) Parker Settecase, Northern Illinois
7) Taylor Ketteman, Northern Iowa
8)Jackson Lewis, Central Michigan

285:
1) Dom Bradley, Missouri
2) Jarod Trice, Central Michigan
3) Jeremy Johnson, Ohio
4) Blayne Beale, Northern Iowa
5) Jared Torrence, Northern Illinois
6) Keith Witt, Kent State
7) Justin Heiserman, Buffalo
8)Chris Eggert, Eastern Michigan