Indoor track and field, wrestling, swimming and diving earn top results over the weekend

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor

This past weekend, the Case Western Reserve University track and field team competed in their first meet of the year at the Otterbein Invitational in Westerville, Ohio, bringing home some incredible finishes in their third meet of the season.

Third-year Jack Begley was the star performer and set a university record in the 3,000-meter run after completing the distance in 8:30.57, taking sixth-place. The previous record was set by former athlete Sam Merriman in 2018 (8:33.13).

Additionally, the Spartans took first-place in six different events. Fourth-year Juan Perez owned two of these, taking the 60-meter dash in 7.01 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 23.29 seconds. Fourth-year Logan Singer won the 800-meter dash in 1:58.85 while second-year Yusuf Shaaban placed first in the high jump (1.89 meters). For the women’s events, fourth-year Julia Kocherzat won the 5,000-meter run (19:07.39) while second-year Jessica Kwasny placed first in the 800-meter run (2:23.02).

There were three second-place finishes for the men’s team. First-year Nicolas Lende took second-place in the 400-meter dash (52.69), second-year Jack Wragan in the pole vault (4.00 meters) and the quartet of Shaaban, Singer, third-year Ben Pinkowski and fourth-year Bryden Moxley in the 4×400-meter relay (3:38.20). Pinkowski also claimed a third-place finish, taking the position in the triple jump with a mark of 12.81 meters. Third-year Peculiar Nzegbuna also took third in the 60-meter hurdles (8.87) and third-year Liam O’Reilly, who placed third as well in the 5,000-meter run (16:41.73).

For the women’s team, second-year Grace Jackson was the sole second-place finisher, completing the 800-meter run in 2:25.51. The women’s team also brought in five third-place finishes: second-year Elise Moore in the 400-meter run (1:02.83), second-year Emily Hopkins for the triple jump (10.57 meters), third-year Mia Vargo in the high jump (1.59 meters), third-year Victoria Zhou for the pole vault (3.00 meters) and the team of Moore, third-year Mia Kilroy, second-year Anna Zinsser and third-year Melissa Phung in the 4×400-meter relay (4:21.84).

The Spartans will be competing next on Jan. 29 in Berea, Ohio to participate in the Dr. Taraschke Team Challenge hosted by Baldwin Wallace University.


The men’s wrestling team took a winning 2-1 record at the Dr. Si Ostrach Duals, hosted at the Adelbert Gymnasium. The Spartans fell to Baldwin Wallace University (18-32) before defeating Waynesburg University (38-14) and Defiance College (28-27) to finish off the meet. The meet was held in honor of the late Dr. Si Ostrach, the former CWRU Wilbert Austin Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Engineering and former director of the National Center for Space Exploration Research who was acknowledged by NASA as one of the 12 Super Stars of Modern Aeronautics. Outside the lab, Dr. Ostrach served as the faculty advisor for the wrestling team and was a highly respected NCAA wrestling referee, officiating for 35 years during his lifetime.

In the first match of the day, first-year Aidan Gassel (12-1 major decision, 184 lbs), fourth-year Grant Robinson (3-2, 285 lbs), fourth-year Brandon Callow (win by forfeit) and third-year Mitchell Arch (15-0, 149 lbs) won their respective matches, but it was not enough to earn the victory.

For the second match, Callow secured a pin at 2:23 in the 141-pound match while Gassel earned the pin at 4:32 in the 197-pound match to headline the win over Waynesburg. First-year Calvin Cai and fourth-year Thomas Gallagher earned victories in the 157-pound and 174-pound matches, respectively, while fourth-years Patrick Hebreard and Manhattan Gatton earned wins by forfeit.

The final match of the day was neck-and-neck, coming down to Gassel’s pin in the 184-pound match against Defiance. At that point the Spartans were down 22-24, but Gassel’s timely pin at 4:21 put CWRU up 28-24. Arch earned a pin in the 149-pound match at the 6:02 mark. Gallagher got the pin at 5:23 in the 174-pound match. Cai earned a major decision win of 12-2 in the 157-pound category. Hebreard won by forfeit.  

Callow, Jack Chipps, Gallagher, Gatton, Hebreard and Robinson were honored prior to the events on Saturday for the “Senior Day” ceremony. During their college career at CWRU, the six athletes have won 13 dual matches since the 2018-19 season and have helped the team rank among the top 11 Division III teams in GPA two times.

The Spartans, who stand at an even 3-3 record, will continue their season on the road at Wheaton, Illinois where they will participate in the Pete Willson Invitational hosted by Wheaton College from Jan. 28-29.

Swimming & Diving

Both the men’s and women’s teams split the weekend meets against Ohio Northern University and Kenyon University. The men defeated Ohio Northern with a whopping score of 220-75 but fell to Kenyon 226-73. The women’s team also won against Ohio Northern 238-58 and lost to Kenyon’s top-ranked team 216-84.

For the diving events, first-year Abigail Wilkov showcased an impressive performance, winning both the diving events. She earned winning scores of 247.00 and 244.50 in the one-meter and three-meter dives, respectively. On the men’s side, first-year Trevor Elliot was the team’s top performer in both events, earning fifth-place in both the one-meter dive (221.6) and the three-meter dive (194.35).

First-year Peter Meng was the only other athlete who earned a first-place result at the competition, winning the 400 IM (4:02.10). Meng also placed a team-best second in the 1,000-meter freestyle with a time of 9:31.76. First-year Kate Menzer placed second in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:08.24), the 100-meter fly (59.19) and as a part of the 200-meter free relay with first-years Gabriella Chambers, Nara Lee and Simone Vale (1:39.66). Menzer, alongside Vale, first-year Caroline Schlessman and Chambers, also earned a third-place finish in the 200-meter medley relay.

Vale also finished third in the 100-meter backstroke (59.86) and sixth in the 100-meter freestyle (54.86). Third-year Johanna Pearson earned third-place finishes in the 1,000-meter freestyle (11:07.39) and the 500-meter freestyle (5:23.50). Third-year Abby Halsdorfer also added a third-place performance in the 200-meter fly (2:13.29), while first-year Elishka Bailey earned second-place in the 200-meter backstroke (2:08.30).

On the men’s side, second-year Ethan Chuang took second-place in the 100-meter breaststroke (57.67) and third in the 200-meter backstroke (1:58.33). Chuang, fourth-year Ryan Gilbert, first-year Jackson Pollard and third-year Campbell Patterson also notched third-place in the 200-meter medley relay (1:35.99).

Third-year Xander Guerrero earned two third-place finishes after completing the 200-meter freestyle in 1:44.95 and the 500-meter freestyle in 4:48.97. Fourth-year Clavin Tecson also took third in the 50-meter freestyle (21.91), while third-year Connor Chignell took third in the 200-meter backstroke (1:58.33) and fourth in the 100-meter backstroke (54.11).

 The teams will host the final dual meet of the season at the Veale Natatorium on Jan. 29 and will be hosting Baldwin Wallace University. Before the events begin, CWRU will celebrate the graduating team members with the “Senior Day” ceremony.