In its final tune-up before the NCAA Division II Super Regional II, Ashland University's wrestling team had three individual champions in its Ashland Open on Saturday (Feb. 14).
"It was a good day," said Ashland head coach Josh Hutchens, "both for the guys that won it, getting those matches you can't simulate in practice, and for the other guys. They got a lot of experience today."
Junior 133-pounder Michael Labry, ranked second in the country, went 3-0 with a pin, a technical fall and a major decision to win his weight class. Labry now has won 35 matches for the third consecutive season, and has recorded nine pins and 12 major decisions this season.
"He's where he needs to be," said Hutchens. "So we have two weeks to fine-tune."
At 149 pounds, sophomore Brent Fickel, who has been battling injuries all season, won his weight class by going 3-0 with a pin. Fickel now is 14-5 with three pins in 2014-15.
"That's great. It's been an up-and-down season for him," Hutchens said. "This should give him more confidence. Hopefully, he'll be sharp and ready to go for regionals."
Junior Bobby Mason, wrestling unattached, won the 141-pound weight class and went 4-0 with a pin and a tech fall.
Freshman Trae Coopwood, a second-semester addition to the program, finished second at 125 pounds thanks to his first three collegiate victories. Other AU placers on Saturday included junior Nolan Dilts at 149 pounds (third), sophomore Sean Houghton at 157 pounds (fifth), sophomores Brad Potter (fourth) and Brenden Stanley (sixth) at 165 pounds and redshirt freshman Zach Brown at 197 pounds (fifth).
Ashland will compete in the Super Regional II on Feb. 27-28. And it may very well do so with its healthiest team of the season.
"That is the goal. That's why we've had some guys out of the lineup," Hutchens said. "We have two weeks now, which is a decent amount of time to get physically and mentally healthy."