WASHINGTON – Sporting a pair of NCAA qualifiers, two seniors and 10 freshmen, the American University wrestling team opens its 2017-18 season on the road Sunday at Campbell University to face the home-standing Camels and Eastern Michigan.
American wrestles Eastern Michigan at 11 a.m. on Sunday and comes back to face host Campbell at 3 p.m.
The Eagles have a pair of nationally ranked wrestlers in preseason polls.
Redshirt junior Josh Terao is ranked in five national polls at 125 and 133 pounds, going as high as eighth by Amateur Wrestling News and ninth by Wrestling Insider Newsletter. Terao led the Eagles with a 29-7 record a year ago, including a 1-2 mark at the NCAA National Championships in St. Louis.
Senior Jeric Kasunic is ranked by four services at 197 pounds, topped by a 17th placing by TheOpenMat.com. Kasunic comes into his senior season with 30 career pins, opening the year second nationally among active wrestlers in that category.
Heavyweight Brett Dempsey is AU's other senior, opening his fifth collegiate season on the mat. Dempsey went 17-18 for the Eagles a year ago, but was AU's top senior male in terms of grade-point average among all sports in 2016-17.
American also has nine student-athletes who redshirted in their first season on campus last year. Gage Curry (125), Kizhan Clarke (141), Anthony Wokasch (157), Conner Allshouse (174), Abraham Correa-Medina (184) and Prince Hyeamang (184) are all candidates to crack the starting lineup in Sunday's duals.
Campbell received votes in the preseason rankings by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The Camels are the defending Southern Conference champions and were picked to repeat that feat in the preseason poll.
The Camels return eight of their 10 starters from last season's lineup and had four wrestlers claim spots on the SoCon's preseason all-conference lineup.
Eastern Michigan was picked to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference this season and has two returning NCAA qualifiers. EMU, which also shares the Eagles nickname, wrestles Gardner-Webb on Friday before Sunday's triangular at Campbell.
Sunday's dual will be the first-ever meeting between the AU Eagles and EMU Eagles on the wrestling mat.