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Posted on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

Eastern Michigan wrestlers off to strong start

By Matt Durr

After finishing last season with a five-meet losing streak, the Eastern Michigan wrestling team has rebounded with a 5-1 start and is in second place in the Mid-American Conference.

Eastern Michigan coach Derek DelPorto says a healthy team is the key reason for its early success.

“We’ve been as healthy as we’ve been in five years,” DelPorto said.

The Eagles have been paced by Andrew Novak (133 pounds) and Aaron Sulzer (157). Both are among the leaders in the latest MAC wrestling rankings.

Sulzer is 8-2 and has continued to improve since his trip to the NCAA Championships last season. On Nov. 18, Sulzer defeated nationally ranked Michigan State wrestler David Cheza on decision, 3-2.

Novak, a senior, has been just as impressive, starting the season 9-2.

Four other Eagles — Jared Germaine (125), Jaylyn Bohl (149), Lester France (165) and Phillip Joseph (174) — are ranked second in the conference in their weight classes.

“Those guys are doing a great job for us,” said DelPorto, adding that their work ethic and leadership sets a tone for the team.

Despite the struggles of the team late last season, DelPorto thinks his team will be better prepared for the stretch run this season.

“We’re constantly reminding them, and they remind themselves,” Del Porto said. “These guys are tired of being the doormat of the MAC.”

The Eagles are off until Dec. 29, when they will participate in the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill.

In January, the team will face a brutal stretch where the team will be wrestling a couple times a week for almost a month. In order to keep his guys healthy, DelPorto said he will pull back on extra workouts and practices.

“We know exactly what is ahead of us,” he said.

Michigan gymnast to help London prepare for Olympic Games

With the 30th Olympics Games set to begin in London on July 27, officials have begun the “London Prepares Series” to test the infrastructure surrounding the events. Exhibitions are being held the various venues schedule to host events and Michigan gymnast Sam Mikulak has been selected as one of two Americans to participate.

From Jan. 10-13, Mikulak and former Oklahoma gymnast Chris Brooks will compete for the United States at the test event held at the North Greenwich Arena.

Mikulak is the 2011 NCAA and Big Ten All-Around champion and figures to compete for a spot on the Olympic National team.

Guptill named Rookie of the Week

Michigan forward Alex Guptill was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Associations Rookie of the Week for the week ending Dec. 11. Guptill earned the award by scoring one goal and adding two assists in a weekend home-and-home against Michigan State.

Guptill is the second Michigan player to receive the award this season. Phil Di Giuseppe earned the award in October.

EMU soccer excels in classroom

Although the results on the field were not as good as they wanted, the players on the EMU women’s soccer team were elite in the classroom. The team posted a 3.57 cumulative grade point average, 10th best in the nation.

By having a team GPA over 3.0, the team earned a 2011 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award. Central Michigan University earned the top team GPA, posting a cumulative 3.70 GPA.