HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Senior Jeric Kasunic and junior Josh Terao will lead American University wrestlers and try to earn a return trip to the NCAA National Championships when they compete this weekend at the 114th annual Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships, hosted by Hofstra.
Competition begins on Saturday with first-round matches at 11 a.m. Saturday's quarterfinal session starts at 6 p.m.
Semifinals will begin Sunday at 10 a.m., with the final session on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Kasunic comes into the conference tournament with a team-best 30-3 record and a 20-bout winning streak. He was tied for eighth at 197 pounds in the most recent NCAA Coaches Panel rankings, but was listed fifth in the EIWA pre-seeds released on Thursday. Kasunic earned his NCAA Nationals spot last year with a fourth-place finish at the conference meet.
Terao picked up his NCAA qualifying berth last year with a second-place finish. He comes into this year's EIWAs with a 26-6 record overall and a No. 11 national ranking by the coaches panel. Terao was third in Thursday's pre-seeding list.
American comes into the EIWAs with two other wrestlers carrying national rankings from the NCAA.
Junior Michael Sprague is 20-10 at 149 pounds, ranked 18th by the NCAA and was listed fifth in the pre-seeds.
Like Sprague, fifth-year senior Brett Dempsey will also wrestle this weekend for his first trip to nationals. Dempsey, ranked 26th nationally and fifth in the pre-seeds, is 15-8 this season after winning nine of his last 10.
American will have five wrestlers who are making their first appearance at the EIWA meet.
Pre-seeds announced Thursday could change after the coaches meeting on Friday afternoon.
The NCAA Division I National Tournament is March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
EIWA Tournament Central (Hofstra Univ. Website, including ticket information)