The No. 13-ranked Ashland University wrestling team has its first home dual of the season at 7 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 13) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame College.
There were three Eagles and eight Falcons featured in the top 10 of their respective weight classes in the first Division II Wrestling Coaches Association national poll of 2017, released on Jan. 4.
"Half of their guys are transfers from Division I schools," Ashland head coach Josh Hutchens said. "Every weight is going to be a battle. There is not going to be an easy match. Several of our guys will be outmatched physically. We know that going in. But we're hoping to make up for that mentally."
There are two weight classes that will feature a nationally-ranked wrestler from each school. The 133-pound class has Ashland senior Michael Labry (No. 1) and Notre Dame junior David Bavery (No. 10). At 149 are Eagles senior Brent Fickel (No. 8) and Falcons sophomore Juwan Edmond (No. 4).
"We know what to expect from them as far as a team mentality," Hutchens said. "We know that we're not going to win a match easily. It's not going to be one takedown and that match is over. It's going to take seven minutes of grinding to win a match."
The two schools are in separate regions. The Eagles are ranked fourth in Super Region II, and the Falcons are first in Super Region I.
"It's a great test for us," Hutchens said. "That's how we look at it. Seeding isn't an important thing in this match. But this is the kind of competition you'll see at the national tournament."
Ashland is 2-1 in dual matches so far this season. The Eagles defeated East Stroudsburg, who received votes in the latest national poll, and West Liberty. They lost on the road to No. 8 Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
"It would mean a lot if we're able to win (on Friday)," Hutchens said. "We're the underdogs here. We're not supposed to win. Any time you can go into that situation and overcome that obstacle, that's a huge momentum swing for your season."
UP NEXT: The Eagles will take on Lourdes in a dual on Wednesday (Jan. 18) at 7 p.m., also at Kates Gymnasium.