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Wrestling returns to the mat in Richmond tonight

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benjamin
James Benjamin comes back from injury tonight against ODU

Tonight, John Stutzman and the UB Wrestling team (6-4, 1-2 MAC) head down to Norfolk, Virginia to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs (4-6, 1-3 MAC) looking to even their MAC dual meet record. Last season, UB scored their first MAC dual win in several years by upsetting the then-#21-ranked Monarchs 19-15.

The Monarchs have been suffering from the loss of some high profile names, namely Chris Mecate, who was nationally ranked at 149 pounds. However, the Monarchs do return three nationally ranked wrestlers, chief among them former All-American and three-time NCAA qualifier Jack Dechow, currently ranked #9 at 184 pounds. Old Dominion also has #15 Seldon Wright at 165 pounds and #11 Kevin Beazley at 197 pounds.

The Bulls should return the same starting lineup that featured against Missouri last week, with the exception of James Benjamin making his return to the lineup after nearly a month off from competition while nursing a knee injury.

The Bulls have been on a hot streak lately, winning 5 of their last 6 dual meets, and I think that they are in good position to get their 7th dual win of the season. Old Dominion is weak at several spots in their lineup including 125, 174 and 285 and possibly 133 and 141 depending on who steps to the mat.

The match to keep an eye on will be at 197, where James Benjamin will make his return and face a nationally-ranked opponent. Benjamin has a penchant for upsetting such opponents, pinning #16 Shawn Scott of Northern Illinois last season and upsetting #4 Brett Harner of Princeton this season in overtime.

His opponent will be no cakewalk, however, as Beazly is 16-2 on the season and fresh off of an Olympic redshirt after placing 2nd at the US team trials in a bid to enter the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on the US Greco-Roman team. Beazley is a former NCAA qualifier and will be one of Benjamin’s toughest tests to date this season.

If Benjamin can make a splash in his return he could cement himself as one of the best in the MAC at 197 pounds not named J’Den Cox.

Unfortunately the magic mystery ESPN deal does not apply to the MAC affiliates in wrestling and the only way the match can be watched live is through the Old Dominion website behind a paywall.