The Ashland University wrestling team has gotten the job done since its season began on Nov. 5, jumping up three spots to No. 1 in Super Region II and four spots to No. 7 in the country.
However, none of that matters if the Eagles don't prove their worth on Friday (Feb. 24) and Saturday (Feb. 25) at the super regional tournament in Indianapolis, Ind.
"You can go in as the No. 1 seed," Ashland head coach Josh Hutchens said. "But if you lose at the wrong time, you're done."
Six Eagles have placed top four at regionals and moved on to nationals in each of Hutchens' first three seasons at Ashland. In the Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Poll released on Friday (Feb. 17), seven AU wrestlers were ranked top four in the region in their weight class. However, the coaches are not required to turn in their official seeding for the regional tournaments until Wednesday (Feb. 22) at 3 p.m.
"This should be the year we break through and bring a lot of guys to nationals," Hutchens said. "Everyone is right on pace and on track to have the best year we've had since I've been here. Now we just have to do it."
The 10 wrestlers the Eagles will be sending to the mats this weekend are - redshirt sophomore Sebastian Vidika (No. 4 regionally at 125 pounds), redshirt senior Michael Labry (No. 1 at 133), sophomore Chandler Minnard (No. 4 at 141), redshirt senior Brent Fickel (No. 3 at 149), freshman Garrett Hall (157), redshirt freshman Bret Romanzak (No. 6 at 165), senior Brenden Stanley (No. 10 at 174), redshirt junior Jordan Murphy (No. 1 at 184), redshirt junior Luke Cramer (No. 3 at 197) and sophomore Deaken McCoy (No. 3 at 285).
"Each wrestler is in a different situation," Hutchens said. "But they're all going to have to beat at least one or two high-caliber guys to get out of the region.
"Some weight classes at regionals are going to tell us more about our chances at nationals than others. In some, we won't see those top guys. Other weight classes are loaded."