The Biggest Loss For Each MAC School & How They'll Fill The Void, Part I

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The Mid-American Conference will be teeming with returning talent next season as it welcomes back seven of its champions and 28 NCAA qualifiers. 

That's in addition to several wrestlers who took Olympic redshirts last season returning to starting lineups and some transfers who are bound to make an impact.

Just as any other season, however, MAC teams have huge lineup holes to fill. The conference lost 22 NCAA qualifiers and three NWCA All-Americans to graduation.

Here is part one of a look how each MAC squad might replace its most talented departed wrestler:

KENT STATE

Biggest loss: Tim Rooney (133 pounds)

Most likely replacement: Brendon Fenton

Outlook: Rooney, a four-year starter, finished tied for the 10th on the Kent State's all-time victories list with a 112-76 career mark. He was 85-38 over the past three seasons and a two-time NCAA qualifier. 

Rooney won his first MAC title last season and finished 26-9. He was 18th in the final national rankings and was an honorable mention NWCA All-American. 

Fenton, a redshirt sophomore, was redshirted last season after transferring from Pittsburgh. He started for the Panthers at 125 pounds as a true freshman, going 7-14 against challenging competition. Fenton lost just 8-7 to two-time NCAA qualifier Korbin Meink of Campbell. 

He was 9-3 with two pins in open competition last season. 

Fenton racked up 144 wins and two state championships while wrestling for Elyria (Ohio) High School. He was a four-time state medalist and Super 32 All-American. 

BUFFALO

Biggest loss: Troy Keller (165)

Most likely replacement: Dillon Ross

Outlook: Keller came to Buffalo after capturing a junior college national title and added two MAC championships and two NCAA Tournament berths to his resume. 

He finished with a 40-12 record for the Bulls, including winning 20 of his final 21 collegiate matches. Keller was No. 22 in the final national rankings. 

Ross, a redshirt sophomore, was 15-14 last season and made one start at 174 pounds. His wins included two pins, a technical fall, and a major decision. Ross went 9-7 in open competition in 2018-19. 

He set a school record at Onteora (New York) High School with 174 career wins. That includes a 44-3 mark as a senior when Ross reached the state title match. 

MISSOURI

Biggest loss: Dylan Wisman (184)

Most likely replacement: Canten Marriott

Outlook: If Marriott shows the form he displayed as a freshman in 2017-18, the Tigers will be just fine at this weight. 

Marriott went 26-8 that year, including a 1-2 mark at the NCAA Championships and third place at the MAC Tournament. Among those he beat were two-time All-American and three-time NCAA qualifier Chip Ness (North Carolina) and four-time NCAA qualifier Jordan Ellingwood (Central Michigan).

However, Marriott lost his spot in the starting lineup to Wisman, who moved up to 184 pounds, for the next two seasons. 

Wisman was an NCAA Qualifier both years and MAC Champion in 2019 while finishing with a 76-39 career record. 

Marriott was limited to 25 matches during that time, going 17-8. He was 11-5 this season with four pins and two major decisions, bringing his career record to 43-16.

Marriott went 162-23 at Park Hill (Missouri) High School, including a state championship. 

CLARION

Biggest loss: Brock Zacherl (149)

Most likely replacement: John Worthing

Outlook: To put it mildly, Zacherl leaves a major void in the lineup. He was a four-time NCAA qualifier and a second-team NWCA All-American last season. 

Zacherl finished 14th on Clarion's all-time wins list with a 114-17 record. He was 13th in last season's final national rankings.

Worthing, a redshirt freshman, was 14-6 against open competition last season, including a 5-0 mark at the Findlay Open. He was 167-27 at Tioga (New York) High School. 

CLEVELAND STATE

Biggest loss: Evan Cheek (141)

Most likely replacement: Marcus Robinson

Outlook: Cheek, an honorable mention NWCA All-American last season, was a two-time NCAA qualifier and four-year starter. 

He also won an Eastern Wrestling League title as a sophomore and finished with a 102-36 career record, including 88-25 the past three seasons.

Robinson, a redshirt sophomore, started for Buffalo last season and went 18-12, including a win over NCAA qualifier Peter Lipari (Rider). He was seventh in the MAC Championships and nine of his wins came via major decision, technical fall, or pin. 

Robinson was 22-15 wrestling open competition his first year with the Bulls. He was a four-time state champion at Arkansas City (Kansas) High School, finishing with a 177-25 record. 

RIDER

Biggest loss: Dean Sherry (174)

Most likely replacement: George Worthy

Outlook: Sherry was a reliable, consistent performer for four seasons.

The three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time Eastern Wrestling League champion finished with a 76-34 record. He was 19th in the final national rankings. 

Worthy, a redshirt freshman, was 14-11 against open competition last season with two major decision wins and a pin. He was a two-time state medalist at Paulsboro (New Jersey) High School. 

LOCK HAVEN

Biggest loss: Jared Siegrist (174)

Most likely replacements: Brinton Simington/Tyler Stoltzfus

Outlook: Siegrist's final season was his finest as he captured a MAC Championship, was a first-time NCAA qualifier and finished with a 25-11 record. He was 23rd in the final national rankings.

The four-year starter's career record was 96-67. 

Stoltzfus, No. 25 on the Class of 2020 Big Board, should replace Siegrist if he is not redshirted. 

Stoltzfus capped his career at Saint Joseph's Academy in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania with a AA state championship and a 165-25 record, including 78 pins. He was a three-time Pennsylvania state tournament medalist and was named to the 2020 Cliff Keen All-America Dream Team.

Simington, a redshirt junior, was 3-10 last season. He is a two-time Pennsylvania state qualifier, who finished with a 98-48 record at Altoona High School. Simington will likely replace Siegrist if Stoltzfus is redshirted.


Mark Spezia is a freelance writer based in Lapeer, Michigan. He has written for ESPNW, Flohockey, Flint, Michigan-based My City Magazine, the Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit Magazine and Troy, Michigan-based Oakland Press. He previously worked for the Flint Journal, Lapeer (Michigan) County Press and Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton, Michigan.

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