The red hues of the Rough Riders and Red Cats replaced the Spartan Blue last Sunday as the Case wrestling team held their annual intra-squad scrimmage.
The event kicked off the Spartan wrestling season, which will begin in full this weekend as the team will host its inaugural CWRU Wrestling Festival on Saturday.
The festival will consist of two separate competitions held together, the Bob Del Rosa Duals and the Claude Sharer Classic. The duals are named in honor of Bob Del Rosa who served CWRU for 49 years with 46 seasons as the head coach of the wrestling team. Eight teams will be competing in four dual meets. Each team will face off against four of the other teams. The Spartans will be going up against Niagara County Community College, St. Catharine College, Ohio Valley University and Mount St. Joseph University. The other three teams competing in the duals will be Alma College, and crosstown rivals Baldwin Wallace University and John Carroll University.
The Claude Sharer Classic is named in honor of Claude Sharer who served for 33 seasons as the head wrestling coach for the Case Institute of Technology. The classic will be a double elimination tournament with the top four wrestlers in each weight class. The same eight schools and in addition, Defiance College, will compete in the classic.
The festival will kick off the actual competition season for Spartans. This is the third year the team has under the lead of head coach Mark Hawald and will be the largest in the programs recent history with 19 wrestlers on the team.
The Spartans finished third in the nation last season in Division III team grade point average and was in excellent shape, winning more dual matches than the previous five seasons combined. The team will be led by junior Josh Hall, who has a record of 36-19 over his first two seasons as a Spartan. In addition to six returning members, the team is welcoming 13 new wrestlers to the program.
In addition to the normal rigors of the season, the Spartans will be burdened by the loss of their three teammates who were tragically taken from their families, their friends, their team and this school community in the plane crash at the beginning of the school year. The loss is one that no team should have to endure, but the campus community came together to support the team and those who knew the young men: the wrestlers Luke Marcelli, Abe Pishevar, and John Hill as well as their friend Michael Felten.
Following the festival, the team will jump back into action against John Carroll on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Horsburgh Gymnasium. Everyone should come and support the team this week as they begin their season. After this, the Spartans will head out on the road and will not be returning to the Veale Center until February.