Wrestling improves at tough event

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“Lots of history and a loaded field” is how Head Coach Danny Song described the Pete Willson Invitational.

The Case Western Reserve University wrestling team brought a limited squad to Wheaton, Illinois to compete against 35 other schools in the “toughest Division III tournament in the country,” according to Song. The tournament was a two-day event, spanning Jan. 26 and 27.

Four Spartans combined to score 19 points, placing the team in 27th overall.

Second-year wrestler Andrew Hoover was the team’s first member to place at the event since 2015. He finished in seventh place in the 141-pound division. He pinned his first opponent but lost in the following match. Hoover finished off the first day with three straight wins. The next morning Hoover fell in his first match, then won his final match of the weekend to secure his seventh place finish.

At 133 pounds, second-year wrestler Alec Hoover went 1-2 for the weekend, with his win by major decision. Fellow second-year Andrew Munn (157 lbs) earned a 2-2 record, winning by technical fall and regular decision. The final Spartan to win at least one bout was third-year wrestler Brian McNamara. He won his first heavyweight bout, but lost his next two, ending his tournament early.

While the results are not at the top of the tournament field, compared to the team’s performance last year there is much to be pleased with. In 2017, the team scored a mere 7.5 points. Progress is being made in the program and tournaments like these prove it.

Although the end of the season is near, so is the team’s best in terms of performance.

“We certainly peak our guys for the postseason,” Song said. “We tailor the training plan so that the guys are ready to wrestle their best at the end of the year.”

That is all the more important with key tournaments on the horizon. The John Summa Tournament at Baldwin Wallace University is on Feb. 3. After that is the University Athletic Association Championships. The national tournament would occur after the UAA championship if any wrestler were to qualify.

So far on the season, Andrew Hoover leads the team with 21 wins. McNamara is tied for second with 15, including a team-high seven pins. Alec Hoover also has 15 wins. Munn and third-year wrestler Gavin Dersh-Fisher have 13 wins apiece. These wrestlers especially will look to lead the team on the mat in the final stretch of the season.