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EMU Wrestling. Where are they now?

Over the weekend I learned something. First, I learned that coming up with ideas to write about every week is tough. I want it to be fun to read, and also fun for me to write. Typically that goes hand in hand, but whatever, you probably don’t care about that. What’s more important, is that I learned that Sa’Derian Perry is in fact getting his name added to the Dean Rockwell Rock, where they’ve honor their All American Wrestlers with a plaque, stating their name, the year, weight and place. EMU’s wrestling team was one of our adopted programs a couple years back, and it’s been fun to watch them grow into a very respectable and up and coming program. After their biggest breakthrough in years with Perry being an All American last year, their program had the proverbial rug pulled out from underneath it when the administration decided to cut wrestling and several other sports. Many of you probably remember the levels of bull shit that the administration threw out there for reasons for cutting the sport, and the fake numbers they provided, but you hopefully also remember the enormous levels of support that the program received from the community and State to keep it around. Despite all that, it was ended, along with my support for that University.

That being said, the wrestlers and coaches from that program have moved on and I thought it would be interesting to see how well they are doing in their new homes. I tweeted the other day that I’m fairly confident that EMU would at worst be the second best team in the MAC this year had their team not been taken from them. Take a trip with me to check in on the status of those EMU wrestlers and coaches. Special thanks to Ty Geren who emailed me most of the details on where these people ended up. Made researching this WAY easier than it otherwise would have been.

125 - Tomas Gutierrez/ Brandon Fenton - Tomas ended up transferring to Kent State University. He’s seen some action this season at the South Beach Duals where he beat Bianchi of North Dakota State as well as a 3-2 loss to Arujau of Cornell. He’s got Sophomore Eligibility, and looks like he can make his way into their lineup regularly. Fenton is a True Freshman this year, and is now the starter at Pitt. It’s important to illustrate that they had legit recruits coming in this season as well. Everyone was blindsided equally.

133 - Noah Gonser/Armando Torres - Gonser wrestled very well for Eastern when he was competing there, and now he’s ranked 19th in the country while competing for Cary Kolat and the Campbell Camels. Gonser has a win this year over AA Montorie Bridges of Wyoming. Armando Torres transferred to Cleveland State where he is 24-8 and won the Clarion Open.

141 - Sa’Derian Perry - As most know, Perry made his way to Old Dominion University. He’s currently ranked 9th in the country, and is proving that his AA finish last year wasn’t a fluke. He’s been battling some injuries this season, but even so has a win over Dom Demas of Oklahoma. Looking forward to seeing how he continues to perform in the MAC and if he can get back on the podium.

149 - Kyle Springer/Tanner Smith - Kyle Springer was the starter as a Senior last year at Easter, and is now a Graduate Assistant for Lake Erie College. Tanner Smith went undefeated as a freshman at EMU. He’s since transferred to UTC, where he’s had some struggles competing. He’s their starting 149, and has had some mixed results. However, he has had some bright spots, like recently knocking off Josh Maruca of Arizona State.

157 - JJ Wolfe/Zac Carson/Mason Kaufman - As far as I can tell, JJ is still at Eastern, but some other wrestlers at this weight have found new homes to compete. Mason Kaufman was a freshman last year, and is now competing for Northern Illinois. He appears to have a solid hold on the starting spot for the Huskies. Additionally, we’ve got Zac Carson, who was at 165 for Eastern, and has since dropped to 157 where he competes for Ohio. You may have just seen him knock off Stanfords AA - Paul Fox - In the Southern Scuffle.

165 - Zac Carson/David Kasper - We touched on Carson above, but David Kasper has decided to transfer to Wisconsin Parkside where he will compete.

174 - Andrew McNally - Transferred to Kent State where he is competing very well at 184. He won the Clarion Open, and was named MAC Wrestler of the Week after an 8-0 week that included seven bonus point wins and a 3-0 mark at the Kent State Duals in debut with Golden Flashes.

184 - Kayne MacCallum - After winning the 184 pound MAC championship last year, he transferred to Oklahoma, where he is competing in the BIG 12 as their starter.

197 - Derek Hillman - Derek just recently announced that he will be transferring to Ohio University where he will have a chance to compete once more. As far as I am aware, this just happened recently, so I’m not sure that he’s competed yet this season.

285 - Gage Hutchison/Austin Emerson - Gage Hutchison had a great career as the HWY for Eastern. He finished off last year with another trip to the NCAA tournament, and a second place finish in the MAC. He’s now coaching at NDSU alongside fellow Michigander Roger Kish. Emerson is a freshman this season as well, and is now competing for Nebraska. He’s currently 19-6 on the season, and was a top recruit last year also.

Thanks again to Ty, but as you can see, there was some serious talent and depth in a young Eastern squad that was taken from us before we really got to see what they are able to accomplish. The coaches have thankfully moved on as well, and found jobs. Head Coach Dave Bolyard is now with Michigan, who is 8-0 in duals, and poised for a strong season. Lightning Luke Smith is now with Cal State Bakersfield, where he’s helping to develop a very strong program out West, and continue to develop some of their ranked light/middle weight talent. Scott Mattingly is now with Gardner Webb, helping that program reach it’s goals, and grow in the state of North Carolina, which finds itself a great wrestling state these days. Let’s not dwell on the past. Was it complete garbage what happened to those athletes and coaches? Yes. Will we stop trying to reinstate that program at Eastern? No. I think teamwork in wrestling, and team chemistry, is often overlooked. I think this team together would have done amazing things this year, and the credibility that the program developed is likely gone, but let’s keep our eyes on these guys. Greatness often times comes from a place of adversity, and I trust these athletes and coaches will reach their greatness.