Wrestlers end season at regional meet
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A young and inexperienced team met its match at the regional meet, though season-long improvements were still found. The Case Western Reserve University wrestling team finished 18th out of 19 teams at the NCAA Division III Mideast Championships.
The Spartans faced tough competition at the meet, but couldn’t rise to the challenge. “It was a combination of youth, inexperience and not taking advantage of some opportunities,” said Head Coach Danny Song. “When you get to that level, the margin of error is a lot smaller, the opportunities are there, but they’re a lot more sporadic.”
Four Spartans picked up wins in the consolation brackets. Second-year student Gavin Dersh-Fisher (197 lbs.), first-year student Isaac Collier (149 lbs.) and third-year student Connor Gordon (165 lbs.) all picked up wins by pin. The last Spartan to earn a victory was first-year student Alec Hoover (133 lbs.), who won his bout in overtime by a score of 6-4.
Hoover’s bout was one of the most exciting for CWRU. After taking an early 4-0, he was in control for most of the three periods. However, with just 30 seconds to go, lapses in judgement led to a quick four points for his opponent. After the bout went into overtime, Hoover regained control and secured the victory.
Song had high praise for Hoover, saying, “He had the best performance for us.” Song added that the young wrestler “kept his cool [and] kept his composure” when his back was against the wall.
Munn also had an exciting bout, losing by just one point in his first matchup. Third-year student Nate Tommas lost a close bout at 174 pounds, falling to John Carroll University’s Jimmy Suhayda by a score of 11-9.
Since no Spartans finished in the top three of their respective bracket, the team’s season ended at the regional meet. Six wrestlers finished the season with winning records. Fourth-year student Matt Moy (11-10), first-year students Michael Petersen (13-8) and Andrew Munn (8-7), Collier (22-15), Hoover (19-16) and Dersh-Fisher (21-19) all won more bouts than they lost.
Song was encouraged by the season, his second at the helm.
He said, “From a results standpoint, there’s always more to do. [But] from an intangible, culture standpoint, I think we’re moving in a real good direction.”
However, Song also mentioned there’s more work to do. He half-jokingly mentioned that as a coach, he’s not happy until he has 10 national champions on the team.
Despite the rough 2-7 record in dual meets and third place finish in the University Athletic Association, Song still had pride in his team’s season.
“It’s definitely been an enjoyable season,” he said. “As you build a culture, as you build relationships, as you get to know the guys personally, as you get to know the parents and all the supporting people who have helped make this possible, it means a lot more.”
Next year, the Spartans will look to continue to build the program. The team loses only two students to graduation and all 10 of their main wrestlers will return. Song mentioned the preliminary class of incoming wrestlers are sure to make immediate contributions as well.