The Ashland University wrestling program received commitments from seven wrestlers during the early signing period. All of those student-athletes will begin their college careers next fall.
"These young men are the future of this program," said AU head wrestling coach Tim Dernlan. "They are men of integrity, passion and great potential. We always look for student-athletes who want to receive a great degree from this amazing institution, have goals to be the NCAA champion and the personality to be great teammates and members of the Ashland community. All of these recruits have those qualities and they have the potential to bring honor to Ashland University in multiple ways during their time with us."
Ashland is an NCAA Division II institution that is ranked 10th in the nation.
Information on this first group of recruits follows.
Kyle Burns (Milan, Ohio/Edison) – At the Ohio championships Burns has finished sixth, third and won a state championship. He wrestles at 152 pounds. Burns is ranked 18th in the country at 152.
"Kyle will bring a quiet focus to the team and I believe he will lead by example with his hard work and desire to be great," said Dernlan.
Max Byrd (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) – Byrd is a 126-pound wrestler who is ranked 23rd in the country. He's made three trips to the state championships and has placed seventh, sixth and second.
"Max is always smiling and it is obvious that he loves to wrestle," remarked Dernlan. "The fans will enjoy his unorthodox style."
Michael DiFrisco (Elmwood Park, Ill.) – DiFrisco is a two-time state qualifier at 126 pounds.
"Michael is from one of the best wrestling clubs in the nation," Dernlan said. "It will be neat to see the unique elements he adds to the team and brings with him from Illinois."
Tommy Dodd (Clarksburg, W.Va./Liberty) – Dodd is accustomed to being near the top of the awards stands. At the West Virginia championships he has finished second, second and third. He weighs 138 pounds.
"Tommy is one of the best wrestlers in West Virginia and we are very excited to work with him next year," Dernlan said.
Brent Fickel (Strongsville, Ohio/Padua) – Fickel has gone to the state championships three times and has placed third, fourth and third. He wrestles at 132 pounds. Fickel is ranked as the No. 99 recruit in the country and is rated 10th in the country at 132 pounds.
"Brent is a true student-athlete," said Dernlan. "He is both physically and mentally strong and will thrive at Ashland University."
Michael Labry (Twinsburg, Ohio) – Labry has won the bronze medal at the state meet twice at 138 pounds. He is ranked 14th in the country at 138 pounds. He was a cadet national champion.
"Michael is a tremendous athlete with a spirit of adventure," offered Dernlan. "He is fun to watch wrestle and I am looking forward to working with him."
Nick Mason (Ann Arbor, Mich./Detroit Central Catholic) – Mason wrestles at 152 pounds. At the Michigan state championships he has finished fifth and fourth.
"Nick comes from a family of great wrestlers," reported Dernlan. "His uncle was an All-American at Ashland and I know Nick wants to have success at that level too."