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Four Bobcats Crack MAC's Top Four Individual Rankings

Jeremy Johnson

Oct. 19, 2012

ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio University wrestlers Andrew Romanchik, Harrison Hightower, Beau Wenger and Jeremy Johnson each cracked the top four individual rankings as the Mid-American Conference wrestling coaches announced the preseason weight class individual rankings in conjunction with the league office today. 

Johnson (Broadview Heights, Ohio) ranked third in the preseason individual rankings. This season, Johnson leads the charge for Ohio's returning class after he won a career-high 35 matches, while dropping just seven. During his 42 bouts, Johnson won the MAC Championship heavyweight title and earned a spot in the NCAA Championships. During the national tournament, Johnson would go on to place seventh and earn All-American honors.

Romanchik (Independence, Ohio) cracked into the individual rankings after he posted a strong freshman campaign for the Bobcats, finishing the year with a 15-14 record and a fourth-place finish at the MAC Championships.

Hightower (Strongsville, Ohio) earned the top four individual ranking after he competed in 36 bouts as a redshirt freshman, finishing with an overall record of 20-16. He also posted a fourth-place finish at the MAC Championships.   

Wenger (Navarre, Ohio) received a top four vote after he competed in 20 matches at the 197 weight class.

Based on the individual rankings, new MAC affiliate member Missouri is expected to win the 2013 conference championship and end the 11-year consecutive run by the Central Michigan Chippewas as MAC defending champions.

Earlier this fall, the conference announced the addition of the University of Missouri, the University of Northern Iowa and Old Dominion University as affiliate members in the sport of wrestling.  All three universities joined the MAC with five-year agreements, with Missouri and Northern Iowa joining the MAC for the conference tournament only for the 2012-13 season and then to participate fully in regular season and tournament action for the next four consecutive years (2013-14 season thru 2016-17 academic season).  Old Dominion will join the MAC for the regular season and tournament action in the 2013-14 season through the 2017-18 academic season.

The 2012-13 preseason rankings, voted on by the league's head coaches in an open forum are as follows:

2012-13 MAC Rankings:

125 - 1. Alan Waters (Missouri); 2. Joe Roth (CMU); 3. Jared Germaine (EMU); 4. Stevie Mitcheff (KSU).

133 - 1. Scotti Sentes (CMU); 2. Nathan McCormick (Missouri); 3. Joe Colon (Northern Iowa); 4. Nick Smith (NIU).

141 - 1. Nick Hucke (Missouri); 2. Andrew Schutt (UB); 3. Kevin Fanta (NIU); 4. Scott Mattingly (CMU).

149 - 1. Drake Houdashelt (Missouri); 2. Donnie Corby (CMU); 3. Blake Roulo (UB); 4. Andrew Romanchik (Ohio).

157 - t1. Kyle Bradley (Missouri); t1. Aaron Sulzer (EMU); 3. Mallie Shuster (KSU); 4. David Bonin (Northern Iowa).

165 - 1. Mike Ottinger (CMU); 2. Zach Toal (Missouri); 3. Mark Lewandowski (UB); 4. Harrison Hightower (Ohio).

174 - 1. John-Martin Cannon (UB); 2. Todd Porter (Missouri) 3. Sam Wheeler (KSU); 4. Craig Kelliher (CMU).

184 - 1. Ben Bennett (CMU); 2. Mike Larson (Missouri); 3. Casey Newburg (KSU); 4. Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa).

197 -1. Dustin Kilgore (KSU); 2. Brent Haynes (Missouri); 3. Nick Wittenberg (EMU); 4. Beau Wenger (Ohio).

HWT - 1. Jarod Trice (CMU); 2. Dom Bradley (Missouri); 3. Jeremy Johnson (Ohio); 4. Keith Witt (KSU).

The preseason team rankings were also decided in the same forum.  The eight schools were ranked based on the number of first through fourth-place votes that were earned in the individual voting system.  A first-place vote was worth four team points; a second-place vote earned three team points; third-seeded votes were worth two team points, while a fourth-place tally earned that team one point in the team ranking system.  The preseason team rankings for the MAC are as follows:

2012-13 MAC Preseason Poll

1.             Missouri (33.5)

2.             Central Michigan (24)

3.             Kent State (12)

4.             Buffalo (11)

5.             Eastern Michigan (7.5)

6.                 Ohio (5)

7.             Northern Iowa (4)

8.             Northern Illinois (3)

Ohio opens the 2012-13 season on Saturday, Nov. 3 as it travels to the Virginia Duals. The 2013 MAC Wrestling Championships will be held March 10 and hosted by the University at Buffalo.