2019 Central Region Preview

NCAA Champ Jairod James may have to avenge an early season loss to win this weekend.

Date – Friday and Saturday, February 22-23, 2019

Location – Knowling Fieldhouse, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN

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Teams (19) – Adrian, Alma, Baldwin Wallace, Case, Defiance, Heidelberg, John Carroll, Manchester, Mount St. Joseph, Mount Union, Muskingum, Ohio Northern, Ohio Wesleyan, Olivet, Otterbein, Thomas More, Trine, Wabash, Wilmington

Top Ten Ranked Individuals (2018 All-Americans in bold)
February 5th Rankings
125 – 7. Champagne (Wabash), 8. Burkholder (Muskingum), 9. Perelka (John Carroll)
133 – 1. James (Mount Union), 7. Nash (Baldwin Wallace)
141 – 3. Ladd (Alma)
149 – 2. Cooper (Alma), 4. Bleich (Baldwin Wallace), 6. Hernandez (Mount Union)
157 – 5. Pugh (Mount Union)
165 – 3. Arroyo (Baldwin Wallace), 5. Hatch (Wabash)
174 – 1. Schurg (Wabash), 2. James (Mount Union)
184 – 5. Roth (Heidelberg)
197 – 8. Lehman (Baldwin Wallace), 10. Hammack (Heidelberg)
285 –

Top 25 Teams (NWCA list)
4. Wabash
5. Baldwin Wallace
7. Mount Union
15. Olivet

Three top ten teams will slug it out in the Central Region. Wabash was in the NCAA last year and hopes to take home a trophy this March. A pair of returning All-Americans in Kyle Hatch and Darden Schurg lead a group of eight wrestlers who appear somewhere in the d3wrestle.com rankings. On their heels are Baldwin Wallace and Mount Union. Baldwin Wallace has four top ten wrestlers including All-American Anthony Arroyo, while Mount Union is led by the James brothers. Jairod is the defending champ at 174 while Jordin is ranked #1 at 133.

Schurg, who finished 4th at 174 last year, defeated Jairod James early this season, and the two have held strong at the top two spots in the rankings all year. Schurg has not lost in DIII, and James only has the loss to Schurg on his record. The regional final could be an NCAA finals preview. Jordin James at 133 has just a single DQ loss in his first season at Mount Union after transferring from Iowa Lakes to join his brother. His toughest competition could come from #7 ranked Charlie Nash of Baldwin Wallace as well as potentially Owen Doster of Wabash, a 2017 All-American.

Alma has a pair of top three individuals in Brendan Ladd and Zachary Cooper. Ladd was an unseeded semifinalist at 141 last year before finishing 6th. Cooper was an NCWA champion for Grand Valley in 2016 and is currently 28-1 with 15 falls. Jordan Burkholder of Muskingum is ranked 8th and hopes to become his school’s first All-American since 2001.