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    Powless takes title, 7 others place at EMU Open

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Returning All-American Matt Powless started his 2011-12 campaign by winning the 197-pound title at the Eastern Michigan Open. Seven additional Hoosiers placed at the event, three attached wrestlers in the open division and four true freshmen advancing to the stand in the freshman/sophomore divisions.

    Powless, ranked fourth nationally, cruised into the semifinals with a pair of major decisions with a combined score of 31-8. He then punched his ticket to the championship match with an 11-8 victory over Arizona State's Tomas Burriel. In the title bout, Powless faced #12 Andrew Campoiattano of Ohio State, who defeated #14 Tyler Dickenson (Michigan State) in the previous round. Powless completed his day 4-0 by topping Campolattano, 5-3, to take the 197 lbs. championship.

    Fellow senior and namesake, Matt Ortega, racked up five wins in six matches for a third place finish. The Rio Rancho, N.M., native has bumped up to 141 pounds this season, and looked good doing it in Ypsilanti. After suffering a tight loss in the quarterfinals, Ortega would not smell defeat the rest of the day as he ripped off four straight wins in the wrestleback. The third-place performance culminated with a first-period pin of Arizona State's Nathan Hoffer in the wrestleback finals.

    Redshirt sophomore Ryan LeBlanc came in at 5th place for the 174-pound division. He advanced to the championship round semifinals before dropping down into the wrestleback. For the day, LeBlanc won three matches with a pin and major decision. Both his losses came to nationally-ranked opponents, coming up just two points shy against both #4 Nick Heflin, 3-1, and #14 Curran Jacobs, 7-5.

    Redshirt freshman Preston Keiffer was the fourth Hoosier to place in the open division, taking sixth at 165 lbs. despite having to withdraw due to injury. Keiffer won four of five matches before defaulting out late in the competition.

    A quartet of true freshmen, Eric Roach, Connor Graves, Luke Sheridan and Garrett Goldman, each placed in their respective freshman/sophomore division brackets. Sheridan and Goldman both reached their title bouts while Roach placed third and Graves took fourth.

    The Hoosiers return to the state of Michigan next weekend, competing in the Michigan State Open on Nov. 12.

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