Spartan grapplers fall in home opener

Peter Cooke, Sports Editor

Rookie Hall shows promise with 4-2 record 

The Case Western Reserve University wrestling team opened up its season this past weekend at the Washington & Jefferson Invitational on Saturday, Nov. 10, before hosting local rival John Carroll University on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

The Spartans finished 14th in the 17-team invite as first-year head coach Mark Hawald led the team in his first match.

Case was led by freshman Josh Hall, who won three matches on the weekend in his collegiate debut. Hall finished 3-2 at the Washington & Jefferson Invitational and reached the semifinals of the 125-pound consolation bracket. Hall lost his initial match 5-1, but rallied with three wins that featured a pair of pins before falling in the consolation semifinals.

Hall topped Jake Landers of Baldwin Wallace University, 7-2. Hall then had two pins in a row, taking down Corey Billingham of Mercyhurst University North East in 4:28 and Taylor Creek of Penn State Mont Alto in 56 seconds. Hall was eliminated from the tournament via a pin by Nathan Schwab of Mercyhurst at the five minute mark.

Another freshman making an impressive debut was Zach McCarthy in the 149-pound weight bracket. McCarthy started his career with a pin of Mercyhurst’s Aaron Lett in four minutes, 50 seconds. He then fell to the consolation bracket after a 9-2 loss to Joey Schmidt of Baldwin Wallace. In the consolation bracket, McCarthy picked up another win with a pin against Austin Killian of Washington & Jefferson before falling in the quarterfinals to Heidelberg’s Andrew Johnson by a technical fall of 19-3.

Senior Evan McDowell picked up a win over Heiderlberg’s Brad Temple in the 157-pound weight bracket. McDowell finished 1-2 on the weekend.

At 165-pounds, junior Brain Snyder picked up a win in the first round with a technical fall over Penn State Greater Allegheny’s Tyler Spencer, 21-5. Snyder lost in the second round by a major decision 17-6 to Clint Schaefer of Mercyhurst. Snyder finished 1-2 on the weekend.

Against the Blue Streaks, the Spartans fell at Horsburgh Gymnasium 42-3 on Tuesday night. Hall picked up Case’s lone points for the evening as he earned a 3-0 lead with a 6-3 decision against Michael Buckiso at 125 pounds.

Freshman Xander Straughter lost a close decision to Jeff Holy in the 133-pound weight bracket, 9-7.

Snyder had a close match at 165 pounds. Snyder pulled through to tie the Blue Streak’s Vinnie Pizzuli late in the match, but Pizzuli managed to take the deciding point with moments to go. Pizzuli won the decision 7-6.

The Spartan grapplers will return to the mats this Saturday, Nov. 17 at Mercyhurst University for the Laker Open. The competition is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.