Sunday, October 17, 2021

2022: The Preseason: Southern Illinois-Edwardsville

 I knew when Jeremy Spates took over as head coach of the Cougar program that it would only be a matter of time before SIUE had individuals competing for conference finals appearances and conference championships within the MAC.  I also think within due time, the Cougars will have NCAA All Americans.  Not sure if it will happen this season or not, although they do have one wrestler that does stand an outsider's shot at making the award stand.  Look for as many as 4 NCAA qualifiers this season. 

Aaron Schulist
Record: 5-4

With victories over two time NCAA qualifier Bryce West of Northern Illinois & Drew Marten of Central Michigan, I would think Schulist will add like victories to his resume this season and qualify for the NCAA championships. 

Saul Ervin
Record: 28-28
MAC: 21'4th 

Ervin has a bit of good fortune on his side this year as he enters the 2021-2022 season.  With Missouri moving back to the BIG 12, that takes Allan Hart out of his way & MAC runner-up McKenzie Bell of Rider will be taking a redshirt.  While I don't see Ervin beating Dresdon Simon of Central Michigan, who he is 0-3 against, he can beat anyone else. An MAC runner-up finish is foreseeable. 

Justin Ruffin
Record: 53-25
NCAA: 19'NQ, 20'NQ
MAC: 19'4th, 20'4th 
MIDLANDS: 20'7th 

If healthy, I think Justin Ruffin has a very, very good shot at winning an MAC title this season.  He'll have Johnny Lovett of Central Michigan to contend with, as well as Ben Barton of Lock Haven but both are winnable matches.  I also think that while it'll require an upset or two, Ruffin IS capable of All American honors. 

Colton McKiernan
Record: 46-26 
MAC: 19'2nd, 20'7th, 21'6th 

As a freshman McKiernan had more of a "go for it" attitude and I think it served him well.  Since, he's become more timid and conserved on the mat & I don't think that it has been in his best interest.  The guy is a pinner, capable of putting top talent on their backs and sticking them.  He proved that by sticking BIG 12 champ Gannon Gremmel of Iowa State as well as Zach Elam of Missouri.  Within the MAC,  he's not beating Matt Stencel of Central Michigan.  Ethan Laird of Rider is redshirting. Even though he is 0-1 vs both Jon Spaulding of Edinboro and John Earnest of Ohio, both of those matches are winnable.  If he goes out and just wrestles, not worrying about the outcomes, there's no reason to believe that he can't take home a runner-up or 3rd place MAC finish this season. 


125 - DNQ
133 - NQ
141 - NQ
149 - DNQ
157 - Darkhorse All American
165 - DNQ
174 - DNQ
184 - DNQ
197 - DNQ

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