EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE wrestling Head Coach Jeremy Spates has added some new wrinkles to the 2018-19 schedule.
The Cougars will play host to six NCAA Division I opponents Dec. 2 for the SIUE Cougar Clash. Arizona State, Army, Chattanooga, Cleveland State, Kent State and Wisconsin will come to the Vadalabene Center for a single-day, bracket-style tournament.
"We wanted to get a lot of good teams to come to Edwardsville," said Spates. "We were hoping to get a lot of Division I matches and against teams we normally wouldn't see. We have six different conferences represented."
Spates said his team responded positively to the schedule change.
"They get to wrestle some big-time people, and they get to do it right at home," he added. "They're looking forward to it."
The biggest change in the schedule is the switch in conferences. The Cougars now compete in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) after wrestling in the Southern Conference since the 2012-13 season.
"We're on a travel year in the MAC so we have two home dates for conference matches," said Spates.
SIUE will welcome Buffalo (Jan. 11) to the Vadalabene Center and Central Michigan (Jan. 20). A nonconference matchup against Truman State is set for Feb. 17.
The Cougars have road contests at Missouri (Dec. 9), Northern Illinois (Jan. 13), Old Dominion (Jan. 25) and Ohio (Feb. 9). SIUE and Kent State will meet at the South Beach Duals Dec. 29.
The Cougars also have worked out an opportunity to compete at the Jon Davis Center Nov. 9 in the season opener. SIUE welcomes Indiana for a 7 p.m. contest.
SIUE's road events include the Maryville Open (Nov. 10) Iowa State (Nov. 11), the Lindenwood Open (Nov. 17), Michigan State (Dec. 29), Virginia (Dec. 30), Wyoming (Dec. 30), the Missouri Valley Open (Feb. 2), Northwestern (Feb. 23) and Wisconsin (Feb. 24).
The MAC Tournament is set for March 8-9 in Norfolk, Virginia.
"I think we have a tough schedule this year," said Spates. "The benefit of having a tough schedule is that you are going to get a chance to wrestle tough guys. When you do that, you'll give yourself a chance to get a good RPI and possibly qualify for nationals."
The NCAA Championships will be held March 21-23 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.