Spartan wrestlers return to the mat

JP. O’Hagan, Sports Editor

The Spartan wrestling team will return to the mats for the first time since the new semester started as they visit Washington University and Jefferson University.

The Spartans stand a match under .500 with a 5-6 record but have wrestled at a level that looks ready to compete well at the upcoming UAA tournament, to be hosted on campus in February.

In their last outing, the Spartans struggled in their dual meets at the 2014 Budd Whitehill National Duals over winter break. The Spartans started a two-day meet with a loss to No. 28 nationally-ranked United States Coast Guard Academy. The Spartans were unable to rebound from the loss and then lost to host Lycoming College and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on the first day of competition.

Despite team losses, sophomore Nick Lees and freshman Connor Gordon performed well, both going 2-1 in their matchups. Gordon, who competed at the 157 weight class, defeated his Coast Guard matchup Steve Kidwell and Lycoming’s Ross Orler by decisions of 9-5 and 9-7, respectfully. Lees also beat both his Coast Guard opponent and his Lycoming opponents at the 174 weight class with a 10-9 decision and 7-6 decision, respectively.

After the poor team day, the team was able to rebound in day two of the National Duals, by first losing to Trine University but defeating Alfred State College. Lees won both of his matchups on day two of competition, and Nate Lewis also went 2-0 on the same day.

The dual over Alfred State places the team at five wins, which surpasses the program’s win total from the 2013-2014 season.

Lees pinned both of his opponents to finish the weekend 4-1 and improve his season record to 12-8. Lewis won the first matchup by a pin and the second by decision and stands at 9-6 on the season.

While the numbers are not particularly outstanding, the team has made strong progress and has performed extremely well in the wake of the heartbreaking plane crash that stole the lives of four Case Western students, three of them wrestlers.

The season continues tonight, Friday January 23rd against Washington and Jefferson at 7:00 PM.