CLEVELAND, Ohio – SIUE wrestling Head Coach Jeremy Spates recently unveiled three boards outside the team's practice facility honoring every All-American in the history of the program.
Coach Spates would like to make some more updates.
The trio of John Muldoon, Tyshawn Williams and Nate Higgins will represent SIUE wrestling at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. The event runs Thursday through Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
SIUE's First-Round Matches
133 – John Muldoon (SIUE) vs. No. 7 seed Austin DeSanto (Drexel)
149 – Tyshawn Williams (SIUE) vs. No. 4 seed Troy Heilmann (North Carolina)
165 – Nate Higgins (SIUE) vs. No. 7 seed Logan Massa (Michigan)
The first-round matches are scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. CT. ESPN will provide live online coverage of every match on every mat. Television coverage of several rounds will be live on ESPN or ESPNU.
"We finally got the All-American board and national champions board installed," said Spates. "The ultimate goal is to have national champions. Luckily, last year we were able to add an All-American (Jake Residori) to it, and we'd like to continue that this year."
To become an All-American, a wrestler must finish in the top eight nationally just as Jake Residori did last season for the Cougars.
Spates said smart, steady wrestling will be important for SIUE's contingent at the Championships.
"This is a big tournament so if you look forward it's a little bit intimidating," said Spates.
Muldoon, of Pearl River, New York, holds a 15-5 record heading into the national championships. He started the season as a 141-pounder, posting a 6-4 record. He has a 9-1 record since moving to the 133-pound weight class.
Muldoon has not wrestled his first-round opponent but has seen him in person. Drexel was at the Vadalabene Center back in November, but Muldoon was wrestling at 141 at the time.
Williams, of Baltimore, Maryland, has been SIUE's lone competitor at 149 pounds this season. He enters the NCAA Tournament with a 15-13 record.
Williams previously met his first-round opponent Heilmann in December during SIUE's trip to Florida. Heilmann won that previous meeting 14-6.
Higgins leads the Cougars with 21 wins this season. His path to nationals included two pins at the SoCon Championships, including a 4:38 fall in the championship match against Chattanooga's Chad Pyke, who also made the NCAA field with a wild card slot.
With all three making their first appearance at the national championships, Spates said his big message for this event isn't much different than any other event.
"The message doesn't change very much," said Spates. "If you treat this as another dual meet or a SoCon Tournament, just go out and do what you are best at and then you'll go a long way."