For the first time ever, Ashland University wrestling's Alumni Dual will take place outdoors on Saturday (Oct. 22) at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field at 2 p.m.
The weather-permitting event will begin with current AU wrestlers facing each other, and end with current AU wrestlers competing against former ones.
"The main purpose is to get the alumni and the current team to know each other," Ashland wrestling head coach Josh Hutchens said. "You can have a lot of alumni events like golf outings and get-togethers, but you really get to know somebody if you're out there wrestling against them."
The list of alumni competing in the dual includes two-time All-American and national finalist Ben Dagley (class of 1989), two-time All-American and national finalist Chris Peretti (2000), one-time All-American Clell Cox (2000), Frank Incorvaia (2005), Oliver Gray (2008), one-time All-American Bryson Hall (2015), Zach Brown (2016) and four-time All-American Joe Brandt (2016).
The current Eagles competing have not been decided yet, but the roster includes six wrestlers who have qualified for nationals in their career: Sophomore Chandler Minnard, junior Luke Cramer and seniors Brent Fickel, Michael Labry, Bobby Mason and Jordan Murphy.
For months, they've been preparing for their first regular action at the Eastern Michigan Open on Nov. 5. And while most of the alumni who will be present continue to stay involved in wrestling, Hutchens says the rules are modified to give them an advantage.
"You have to be pretty brave to do something like this," Hutchens said. "For every year over the age of 30, they get a pound. Secondly, we shorten the matches from seven minutes to four minutes so that helps with the conditioning portion."
The last alumni dual, which took place in Kates Gymnasium two years ago, came down to a late takedown in the heavyweight match by Cox to earn a victory over current senior Tyler Shank that earned the win for the alumni.
"I think we're actually going to have a rematch in that match," Hutchens said. "They're competitors. So even if they're having fun out there, you still see the effort come out."
Saturday's forecast is currently calling for a high of 52 degrees and a low of 41, to go along with a lot of wind.
"If it's cold," Hutchens said. "I don't see that being a problem. These guys are tough. They can handle it. If it's crazy windy or raining, that would be a different story."
If it's decided that the dual can't take place outdoors, then it will be moved inside to the Ashland wrestling room.