• 63°

MMI To Host State and Regional Collegiate Wrestling Championships

The Marion Military Institute wrestling team will be out to avenge last years’ one point defeat to Auburn University this Saturday when they host the State Collegiate Wrestling Championships at the Ireland Athletic Center in Marion.

“This will be a real battle to see if we can make up for last years disappointment when we came up just short of upsetting Nationally Ranked Auburn last year,” said MMI head coach Joe Wiendl.

“We have done well against Auburn this year as a team, defeating them the three times we have met them in head-to-head competition, but Auburn has never been at full strength when we have competed against them this year to date.”

Auburn has two Hoover High School wrestlers that will be shooting for the title when Trey Hammer and Steve Hughs take to the mat at 125 and 157 pounds respectively.

Anthony White of Athens High School will again compete at 165 pounds and Yorktown, Virginia junior, Justin May will add strength in the 184 pounds classification.

“They should have every weight class filled as last years state champions Jeramiah Lamphere of Powder Springs, GA. drops to 141 pounds and Eric Stuman from Center Point, AL. drops to 197 pounds.

MMI is still struggling to be at full strength due to injuries and other obligations the cadets have. New cadet Danny Ruiz of College Station, Texas and Josh Bartlett of Pensacola, FL. will be competing at 125 and 133 pounds.

“We will have trouble filling the 141 pound weight class if Jason Coleman of Matthews, North Carolina is unable to make weight.

Mitch Mendelson of Miami, FL. last years’ Outstanding Wrestler Award winner, and Robert Powell of Easley, South Carolina will fill the 149 and 157 pound weight class.

Joey Jeffers of East Ridge, TN. and Michael Peters if Daphne, FL. will add strength at 165 and 174 pounds for MMI.

But the matches of the finals should be at 235 and 285 pounds with both teams being strong.

The match of the tournament could be Auburn’s surprise Wes Mullinax of Marietta, GA. who will meet three-time Alabama State Champion, Matt Baker, of Gardendale at 235 pounds.

And the final match of the evening could be the deciding match for the team championship as MMI’s James Breaux, sophomore from Ladson, South Carolina and 2003 National Qualifier will meet Auburn’s Nick Dixon, an All-American in year 2000 from Atlanta, GA. or Scott Terry of Birmingham’s Shades Mountain Independent at 285 pounds.

“Although the University of Alabama has had a competitive team in the last few years, they have not been able to field one this year.

With Alabama growing in strength next year and both the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Jacksonville State scheduled to start wrestling programs in ’04-’05, it will really add to next year’s tournament.”

Saturday’s competition will start at 2 p.m. with the finals to start directly after. MMI is also scheduled to host the largest college tournament in the Southeast this year, when the NCWA South East Regional Championships are held at the Ireland Center on Saturday, February 28.

Fifteen-college teams lead by the NCWA’s #1 and #4 ranked teams, Florida Central of Orlando and Pensacola Christian, arrive to prove their strength.

It will be an all day tournament with the finals scheduled to start at 7 p.m.