The Ashland University wrestling Alumni Dual returns for a third year on Saturday (Sept. 16).
And this time, because it's taking place one month sooner than usual, it's expected to be better than ever.
For the second year in a row, the dual featuring current AU wrestlers against Eagle alumni will take place outdoors at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field. The start time is 11 a.m.
"It was fun last year," Eagles head coach Josh Hutchens said. "The weather was the only downside. I think it being earlier in the year now will make the whole experience that much better."
The current wrestlers won in the cold and windy temperatures of October last year. However, the alumni won when the event was indoors in 2015. This year's tiebreaker will be decided in what's expected to be a sunny day with temperatures that could reach 80 degrees.
"Everybody is having fun," Hutchens said. "But the alumni are All-Americans, and the current guys are still competing. They don't want to lose. So as fun as it is, they're still giving it their all out there."
The list of alumni competing in the dual includes four-time All-American Joe Brandt (class of 2016), three-time All-American Tommy Bauer (class of 2003) and two-time All-Americans Chris Peretti (2000), Justin Ferguson (2008) and Ben Dagley (1989).
The current Eagles competing have not been decided yet, but the team finished sixth in the country in 2016-17, and the roster includes six wrestlers who have qualified for nationals in their career - sophomore Bret Romanzak, juniors Deaken McCoy and Chandler Minnard, and seniors Luke Cramer, Bobby Mason and Jordan Murphy.
"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 event will begin with current Eagles facing each other, and end with the current AU wrestlers competing against former ones.
"Something like this is probably twice as entertaining as a normal match," Hutchens said. "It's not just about what's going on on the mat. Everything going on around it is pretty cool to watch."