The AU wrestling team took a bus to Warrensburg, Mo, for the Central Missouri Duals. The way the two-day event transpired, the Eagles could have flown back - without the benefit of a plane.
Ashland went 3-0 on the final day of competition and finished 4-1 at that event. On Tuesday (Jan. 8), Ashland knocked off Fort Hays State, 22-16, Ouachita Baptist, 31-10 and Central Missouri, 31-10. Fort Hays State is ranked 18th in the country and Ouachita Baptist is 10th. Ashland's only loss in Missouri was a one-point setback to the nation's No. 1 team - Nebraska-Kearney. AU is now 6-2 in dual meet competition.
This AU lineup, which is still not at full strength, is built around underclassmen. It can be argued, based on this last weekend, that the Eagles own one of the best young groups in the nation.
On Tuesday in Missouri, freshman Michael Labry (Twinsburg, Ohio) was 3-0 at 133 pounds with a pin and a major decision. Labry, who's ranked fourth in the country, is 20-0 and was 5-0 in Missouri.
Sophomore Max Byrd (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle), AU's 125-pounder, also went 5-0 at the CMU Duals. He was 3-0 on the final day with a pin.
At 197 pounds, sophomore Joe Brandt (Versailles, Ohio) was 3-0 on Tuesday with a pin and a technical fall. Brandt is ranked third in the nation.
Sophomore Kurt Schaefer (West Salem, Ohio/Northwestern) went 3-0 on Tuesday. He had one pin and won a pair of decisions. Schaefer was wrestling at 285 pounds.
Sophomore Bryson Hall (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa) was 2-1 at 184 pounds with a pin and a technical fall.
The Eagles return to the mat next Tuesday (Jan. 15, 7 p.m.) when they host Lake Erie.