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Junior Garrett Ryan will look to sustain his early season momentum with a deep run at the Midlands

Wrestling will hit the mats at Northwestern on Thursday to take part in the 54th annual Midlands Championships.

With 71 ranked competitors taking part in the event, the Lions (0-3) could have their hands full with potential matchups against some of the nation’s best wrestlers.

Junior Dan Reed could face Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen, the nation’s No. 2 wrestler in the 149-pound weight class, if he wins his opening match against Alex Kocer of South Dakota. In the same bracket, first-year Brock Morgan will wrestle down a weight class to take on Central Michigan’s Justin Oliver, the class’s No. 6-ranked wrestler, in the opening round.

In the Light Blue’s last fixture, a duals meet against Drexel, it claimed four of 10 matches, but lost 26-12. Juniors Jacob Macalooly, Tyrel White, Garrett Ryan, and Tyler Ponte shined in that match, earning 8-5, 2-0, 7-4, and 2-1 decisions, respectively.

Ryan and Ponte will head into the Midlands Championships with more than just recent success—both advanced to the second day of competition two years ago. Ryan, currently seeded eighth and with a first round bye in the heavyweight bracket, claimed a seventh-place finish that year, while Ponte advanced to the third round.

In another reminder of the 2014-15 season, senior Johnson Mai will hit the mat for the first time since then, and will look to shake up the 125-pound bracket. The California native claimed 12 victories in his junior year, but sat out the next season after suffering an injury.

One weight class up from Mai at 133 is Alec Kelly, who could get a taste of conference competition against Brown’s James Pawelski if he wins his opening match. Along with Brown, fellow Ancient Eight squads Princeton and Harvard will send wrestlers to the tournament.

Action starts at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday and runs well into Friday night.

austin.horn@columbiaspectator.com@CUSpecSports

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