Nov. 1, 2010
EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. - The exhibition season for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville wrestling is one of the first chances for the Cougars to solidify the 2010-2011 season's lineup.
It's also a showcase of who wrestling fans will be seeing this season. SIUE plays host to the Red and Black Intrasquad Thursday at the Vadalabene Center. Start time is 7 p.m. with 10 matches on the slate.
SIUE Head Coach David Ray and Associate Head Coach Alan Grammer will have the opportunity to gauge who does the best in a pressure situation. The winner of each match will start out the season No. 1 on the depth chart, but there will be numerous challenges for that spot all season long, noted Ray.
SIUE is ranked No. 1 in the nation by the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA). The Cougars have five returning NCWA All-Americans, including 285-pound defending national champion David Devine. SIUE finished third at last year's championship. Thursday's matches are the starting point for that postseason challenge.
Ray said there are several weight classes he expects hard-fought matches for the intrasquad meet.
"This will be a battle between brothers, friends and roommates," said Ray.
The 141-pound weight class features a pair of freshmen. Nick Capozzoli (Vernon Hills) sat out last season as a redshirt for the Cougars. Cameron Vance (Port Byron) won the Class A state title last season in Illinois.
"This could be one of the most exciting matches of the evening if they open up and go after one another," said Ray.
Cole Brandt (Avon, Ind.) and Jordon Bakley (Huntley) face off at 184 pounds. Brandt was a runner-up at the Indiana State Championships last season and enters as a freshman this season for the Cougars. Bakley transferred to SIUE from Harper College, where he finished third last season at the National Junior College Athletic Association championships.
"Cole has been one of the biggest surprises and most improved freshmen. He is a fighter. Jordon placed third last year at the NJCAA Nationals, but will have his hands full," said Ray.
David Devine (Petersburg) won the NCWA heavyweight national title last season. Chase Grafton (Alexandria, Va.) won one match last season at the NCWA Nationals at 235 pounds. The duo is battling for the final spot in the lineup.
"These two men have been battling it out all preseason, and it is going to come down to the last second or possibly overtime to decide who will be the big man to lead the team. Chase Grafton's mental confidence has improved tremendously. He is not afraid to challenge David Devine for the lead role," said Ray.
Below is the list of starters for Thursday's meet.
125 - Paul Myers vs. Patrick Myers
133 - Brendan Murphy vs. Lawrence Blackful
141 - Nick Capozzoli vs. Cameron Vance
149 - Eric Biehl vs. Derrick Pousson
157 - Grant Sullivan vs. Isaac Ervin
165 - Steve Ross vs. Tyler Rice
174 - Deshoun White vs. Terrence Connors
184 - Cole Brandt vs. Jordon Bakley
197 - Scott Prause vs. Robert Cooney
285 - David Devine vs. Chase Grafton