Eight Eagles Earn Regional Rankings

Eight Eagles Earn Regional Rankings

            Paper can be ordered by weight, texture and color.  Printers have the luxury of ordering exactly what they desire based on the project.

            In the printing world, what goes on a piece of paper is also at the discretion of who holds the pen, or who sits at the computer. In wrestling, what goes down on paper is not so cut and dried. That's why AU head wrestling coach Tim Dernlan is a bit reluctant to get carried away with regional rankings.

            In this week's Midwest Regional rankings, eight AU wrestlers are ranked. Four wrestlers in that group are ranked first.  As a team, Ashland is ranked second out of 12 teams. Central Oklahoma is the top-ranked team in the region with 65 points, followed by AU (50), Limestone (49) and King (48). Findlay is ranked fifth with 43 points.

            "You never know how accurate rankings are but you want to be in them," said Dernlan.  "If you aren't in them you have other issues. It means we're starting to progress to where we need to be. It's fun for the guys and it's good to see more guys ranked each year. It builds some excitement."

            Dernlan, now in his fourth year at AU, can remember his first one or two years at Ashland when the Eagles struggled to get grapplers included in the rankings.  That's not a problem now.  The four wrestlers who are ranked first in the region are senior Brandon Davis (Greensboro, N.C./Page) at 125 pounds, junior Dan Genetin (Navarre, Ohio/Massillon Perry) at 141 pounds, senior Marc Hoff (Liberty Center, Ohio) at 149 pounds and senior Jacob Southwick (Bowling Green, Ohio/Otsego) at 285 pounds.

            Senior Dan Mandara (Canandaigua, N.Y.) is ranked third in the region at 133 pounds, senior Tommie Graszl (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison) is fourth at 157 pounds, sophomore Jake Howe (Cuba, Ohio/Blanchester) is sixth at 165 and sophomore Corby Running (Wilmington, Ohio/Clinton Massie) is fifth at 197 pounds.

            Some of those wrestlers will be in action this Saturday (Dec. 3) when the Eagles go to the  Ohio Northern Invitational.  Dernlan will not be taking a full team to ONU, but he'll have enough there that he'll get in a full day of coaching.

            "There are a lot of individuals who need matches," explained Dernlan.  "We're still trying to determine spots at several weights.  This is a great tournament, this is always a great event."

            One wrestler the coaching staff will watch closely is freshman Clint Endicott (Shelby, Ohio/Crestview) at 285 pounds.  Endicott is going to receive major time on the mat in the next few weeks.  He's a local product, which usually excites the fan base.

            "He's developing," said Dernlan.  "Every day in practice Clint's gone against one of the top heavyweights in the country in Jacob Southwick.  In that situation you either fold and pack it in or get tougher. He's done the latter. That's the kind of heart we're looking for in our program.  Jacob has become a mentor for Clint. Jacob has really taken him under his wing. It's a great situation for Clint and he's taken advantage of the situation."

            This time of the year can be trying for freshmen.  They are nearing the end of their first semester of college wrestling. Most of them are still trying to make their mark, but finding out how busy a college schedule can be. For example, AU will wrestle at ONU on Saturday, then go to Heidelberg for a dual on Tuesday (Dec. 6).  On Dec. 18-19, Ashland will wrestle at the Midwest Classic, one of the red-letter events on the AU schedule.

            In between all of these on-mat tests come final exams in the classroom.

            "Freshmen will have ups and downs," Dernlan said.  "It's fun to see them work through that. It's a time for adapting."