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EMU Open Preview

By MI Grappler, 11/04/16, 10:45AM EDT


#6 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) headlines loaded 149lb bracket

The Eastern Michigan Open kicks off the college season each year for most Michigan college programs as well as many others from around the midwest.

This year's EMU Open features one division with a good group of top talent headlined by returning NCAA Champions Ohio State brining most of their starters.

In addition, Michigan, Michigan State, and Central Michigan have most of their starters in attendance and all other Michigan schools have a good representation coming to compete.

Click here to see all the entries in each weight and read our weight-by-weight-breakdown below.

Watch the EMU Open Live on TrackWrestling.



University of Michigan freshman #20 ranked Austin Assad is the only nationally ranked entry in this weight.  Assad had a good redshirt campaign last year and was a FILA Jr Freestyle Runner-Up and placed at the Southern Scuffle.  

He should have some good tests in this weight with at least 6 other guys who should be D1 starters this year.  Returning CMU starter Brent Fleetwood is a returning NCAA Qualifier and probably the most battle tested guy in this field.  MSU 2 year starter Mitch Rogaliner is another veteran to watch.  Jose Rodriguez (Ohio State) is another highly touted Redshirt Freshman who should be the starter for the Bucks and was a University FS All-American last year. Ben Thornton (Purdue) is a returning starter who was University Freestyle All-American last year and  Brock Hudkins (Northern Illinois) is a 2x Indiana State champ, big recruit true freshman who may start for the Huskies right away.  Carter Ballinger (CMU) could be the man for the Chips at this weight after beating Fleetwood in the wrestle off last weekend.

Highly touted true freshmen making their debuts on Saturday include multiple Michigan state champs Lucas Hall (Michigan State) and Devin Schroder (Purdue).  Hall knocked off Rogaliner in their wrestle-offs last week.


One of the best weights to watch will be 133 with three nationally ranked guys, headlined by Redshirt Freshman #8 Stevan Micic (Michigan) who will be making his debut in the starting lineup this year after a redshirt year at Northwestern two years ago and an Olympic year last year.  Micic has done extremely well on the freestyle circuit and internationally and has a lot of buzz surrounding his debut for the Wolverines this year.

#17 Austin Eicher (Michigan State) was a MAC Champ last year for Northern Illinois and making his Spartan debut on Saturday.  #18 Corey Keener (Central Michigan) is another NCAA Qualifier with a ton of experience.  Luke Welch (Purdue) is a 2 year starter for the Boildermakers who had a solid season last year including a win over Fleetwood and his teammate Cody Pae (Purdue) is one to watch as he beat Welch in their intersquad meet.  

A couple big name true freshmen to watch include Mario Guillen (Ohio) and Luke Pletcher (Ohio State).  Pletcher was highly ranked nationally out of PA and Guillen was an OH State Champ last year.


The man to beat here will be returning NCAA Qualifier and #17 ranked Javier Gasca (Michigan State).  Chandler Minard (Ashland) is ranked #9 in NCAA DII.  The University of Michigan has a pair of guys who could see time in their lineup with veteran George Fisher (Michigan) and freshman Sal Profaci (Michigan).  Profaci won the wrestle off series last week.  Redshirt freshman Mason Smith (Central Michigan) could be the starter for the Chips this year and had a great prep career.

Highly touted true freshman Dresden Simon (Central Michigan) will make his collegiate debut after winning the CMU wrestle off last weekend and also making college debuts will be D3 state champ Jwan Britton (Central Michigan) and runner up Zach Blevins (Eastern Michigan)


Without a doubt the weight to watch Saturday will be 149lbs.  This weight is headlined by 3 nationally ranked D1 NCAA Qualifiers as well as 3 guys currently ranked Top 10 in NCAA Division II.

Returning NCAA Qualifier Micah Jordan (Ohio State) is the highest ranked wrestler in the weight, ranked #6 entering the season .  Justin Oliver (Central Michigan) is the only returning All-American in the weight, ranked #8, and returning NCAA Qualifier Steve Bleise (Northern Illinois) is ranked #15 after jumping up from 141 last year.

Three nationally ranked DII wrestlers make this weight really interesting to watch with #4 Brent Fickel (Ashland), #5 Michael Skreptock (Tiffin), and #9 Nick Boggs (Lake Erie).

Adding even more depth here is highly touted redshirt freshmen who are potential starters in Zac Hall (Michigan) and Nate Limmex (Purdue).   Throw in returning starters Nick Trimble (Michigan State) and Gabe Morse (Northern Illinois), along with big recruits and true freshman Jake Tucker (Michigan State) and Ryan Deakin (Northwestern), and this weight could be fireworks from the early rounds on.


#10 ranked returning NCAA Qualifier Jake Ryan (Ohio State) headlines this weight along with #17 Colin Heffernan (Central Michigan) and returning NCAA Qualifier Alex Griffin (Purdue).  

Another projected starter in this weight is Austin Thompson (Michigan State).  True freshman Austin Hiles (Michigan State) gave Thompson a good match in their wrestle offs and could make some noise here in his college debut.


Logan Massa (Michigan) will kick off his first season in the lineup on Saturday after a very good redshirt season last year.  Massa is ranked #7 nationally to start his career and should be the heavy favorite in this weight on Saturday.  

Nationally ranked Division II guys to watch will be #6 Nick Vandermeer (Lake Erie) and Alonzo Turner (Findlay).  Other slated Big Ten starters who may push Massa include Cody Burcher (Ohio State) and Dylan Lyde (Purdue).

A couple highly touted true freshmen to keep an eye are Florida native Elijiah Cleary (Ohio State) and Indiana native Drew Hughes (Michigan State).


There are no nationally ranked wrestlers in this weight, but a solid group of potential starters including Jacob Morrisey (Purdue), Dean Vettese (Michigan State), Chrsitian Brucki (Central Michigan),  Myles Amine (Michigan), and Trace Engelkes (Northern Illinois).

Amine comes in off a solid redshirt campaign and appears to the be man for the Maize and Blue unless Davonte Mahomes returns.  Brucki won a close wrestle off over Jordan Atienza last week and Vettese, Engelkes, and Morrisey are all guys with lineup experience.  


#8 Domenic Abounader (Michigan) and #12 Jordan Ellingwood (Central Michigan) are both experienced returning NCAA Qualifiers who will contend for all-american status this year.  Both have won their conference tournaments and should be the guys to beat here.  Abounader tech-falled Ellingwood last year, but Ellingwood is a returning MAC champ with wins over All-Americans on his resume.

Tyler Hughes (Lake Erie) is ranked #7 in NCAA DII and could be a guy to watch here as well.  


Kolin Moore (Ohio State) is ranked #16 nationally and the only ranked guy in this weight at the NCAA Division 1 level, however, the real guy to watch is Riley Lefever (Wabash) who has won the NCAA Division III National Title the last two years and was unbeaten last year, including a EMU Open title.

Austin Severn (Central Michigan) is the slated starter for the Chips at 197 and other potential Big 10 starters to watch include Jackson Striggow (Michigan), Matt Okaiye (Michigan State), and true freshman Christian Brunner (Purdue).

Brunner was a nationally ranked prep last year and other true freshmen to watch who were highly nationally ranked at the high school level last year are Blake Rypel (Indiana) and Landon Pelham (Central Michigan).


While there are no nationally ranked wrestlers from the Division I level, there are a pair of Top 10 heavyweights from the NCAA DII ranks with #4 Garret Gray (Tiffin) and #9 Luke Fleming (Findlay).

Returning starters Jacob Cooper (Michigan State), Tyler Kral (Purdue), and Newton Smercheck (Central Michigan) are all contenders in this weight.  A pair of contending starters Kostya Golobokov and Ty Wildmo (Michigan) should be in the mix as well.

Keep an eye on a couple big name true freshmen who were highly ranked nationally at the prep level last year - Shawn Streck (Purdue) and Matt Stencel (Central Michigan).