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Bear Invitational Jump Starts Promising 2012-13 Season

10/16/2012 -

On October 27th, 2012 the Middle Tennessee State wrestlers return to Macon, GA for the 2012 Mercer University Bear Invitational that will jump start the 2012-13 campaign. The Blue Raiders hope to repeat last year’s successful start to the season with 8 wrestler returning from a team that notched its second 1st place team finish in three seasons.

Juniors Anthony Patnode (3rd at 125) and Everett Colbert (1st at 157), along with Sophomores Eric Feuerbacher (2nd at 141), Rakim Talley (2nd at 184), Jonathan Roberts (4th at 174), Mike LaBadie (4th at 184), Adam Wells (4th at 235), and Tyler Bond (3rd at 285) along with several key new faces look to continue MTSU’s success at the Bear Invitational, as well as improve upon last year’s respective finishes, and build momentum for what looks to be a promising season for the young team.

Following three new dates on the schedule that have the Blue Raiders competing in the Citadel Open (NCAA-D1) in Charleston, SC on November 3rd, hosting the Blue Raider Classic (College open/ High School preseason tournament) on November 10th in Hendersonville, TN, and competing in a very tough NCAA-D2 King College Open in Bristol, TN on November 18th, the successful MTSU Alumni Duals return to the Mid-state on December 1st as 2011 tournament champions Liberty University look to repeat against a very tough field that includes host school, MTSU, alongside other NCWA schools Marion Military Institute, Southern Virginia University, Tennessee Temple, and the University of Tennessee, as well as Arkansas Baptist (NJCAA), and Lebanon, TN’s Cumberland University. MTSU and Cumberland clash for a second time in two weeks on December 15th at 2:45 pm at Beech H.S. before the Blue Raiders travel to Arlington, TN to face-off against NAIA school Central Baptist on January 5th.

MTSU looks to build upon last season’s impressive finish at the National Duals on January 18th and 19th as they co-host the 2013 NCWA National Duals in Dalton, GA. The Blue Raiders’ 8th place finish was the highest in team history and with ten returning starters, MTSU hopes to have another benchmark showing at the NCWA’s premier Team dual event.

Sophomore Shane Shaffner, the returning 2012 125lb Shipbuilder Invitational champion, looks to repeat at The Apprentice School’s annual individual tournament in Newport News, VA. Last season, Shaffner became the first Blue Raider in team history to win the Shipbuilder Invitational, but Eric Feuerbacher (2nd at 133), Everett Colbert (4th at 157), Mike LaBadie (4th at 197), Adam Wells (6th at 235), and Tyler Bond (6th at 285) look to ensure Shaffner’s name won’t be alone as they vie for championships in their respective weight classes.

Truett-McConnell (NAIA) makes a trip to Murfreesboro on February 2nd for a dual before the Blue Raiders travel to Toledo, OH for the Glass City Duals (Toledo University) where MTSU went unbeaten (5-0) and finished with a 1st place finish in 2012 following their 2nd place finish in 2011. The trip to Toledo is a return home for MTSU Head Coach Bryan Knepper, who founded the Toledo NCWA Program.

Last season, MTSU qualified 9 wrestlers for nationals and finished 5th overall at the NCWA Mid-Atlantic tournament held in Lynchberg, VA on the campus of Liberty University. This season, they return 8 of those 9 qualifiers with the lone departure being three-time NCWA National Qualifier Nick Appleby to graduation this past Spring. Last year steeled a young, yet talented team composed mostly of Freshmen, and the now seasoned group has a full season of collegiate competition under their collective belt and look to break through in a tough field at the 2013 NCWA Mid-Atlantic tournament, again held on the campus of Liberty University on March 2nd before heading to Allen, TX for the 2013 NCWA National tournament.