Spartan Club Athletes of the Week for Nov. 20: Sam Merriman and Suhan Mestha

Spartan Club Athletes of the Week for Nov. 20: Sam Merriman and Suhan Mestha

The Spartan Club, comprised of Case Institute of Technology (CIT), Western Reserve University (WRU) and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) alumni, parents of current students, faculty and staff, and friends of the University, is aimed at helping foster and honor the proud tradition of athletics at the University, while also supporting the current student-athletes.  For more information on the Spartan Club, and to help support its purpose by becoming a member, CLICK HERE.

Case Western Reserve University senior Sam Merriman, a runner on the men’s cross country team, and junior Suhan Mestha, a swimmer on the women’s swimming and diving team, have been named the Spartan Club Athletes of the Week for their performances this past weekend.

Merriman claimed his second-straight All-America honor with an 11th-place finish out of 279 finishers at the 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.  Merriman crossed the finish line of the 8K race with a career-best time 24:37.00, and his finish marked a 10-spot improvement over his placing at last year’s meet.  He became just the fourth repeat All-America in program history, joining former Spartans Steve Cullen, Peter Kummant and Greg Bowser.

Mestha picked up a pair of first-place finishes to lead the Spartan women to a sweep of Gannon University, Grove City College and the University of Rochester on Saturday. Mestha won the 100-yard backstroke (58.01) and the 200-yard backstroke (2:06.42). Her time of 58.01 in the 100 Back currently ranks fourth-best in the University Athletic Association and her time of 2:06.42 in the 200 Back currently ranks sixth in the UAA.

The Spartan Club Athletes of the Week are selected by the CWRU Department of Athletics each Monday, based on their performance during the previous week of competition.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Aguilar (football) had a career day on Saturday to lead the 16th-ranked Spartans to a 28-0 win over 11th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships on Saturday.  Entering the game with just nine carries for 48 yards for the year, Aguilar ran 27 times for 136 yards and three touchdowns, all career-highs, against a rushing defense that came into the contest having allowed just one rushing touchdown all season and ranked fourth in Division III with 49.5 rushing yards allowed per game.  

Cody Calhoun (football) helped the 16th-ranked Spartans defense record a shutout over 11th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships on Saturday.  The team co-captain recorded six tackles (four solo) and blocked a punt with 3:31 left in the first half that led to CWRU’s first touchdown of the game.

Justin Phan (football) notched a key punt return in the second half that helped the 16th-ranked Spartans pull away from 11th-ranked Illinois Wesleyan, en route to a 28-0 win.  In his only return of the game, with snow falling and a heavy coating on the field already, Phan returned a punt 33 yards to the Titans’ 42 yard line with 9:19 to play, setting up a drive that led to the team’s second touchdown.

Drew Hamilton (men’s swimming and diving) headlined the men’s performances, as they swept Gannon University, Grove City College and the University of Rochester on Saturday. Hamilton picked up three wins, claiming first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:45.02), winning the 100-yard freestyle (48.06) and finishing first in the 200-yard individual medley (1:59.34). His time of 1:45.02 in the 200 Free currently ranks 12th-best in the University Athletic Association.

Brooke Hortness (women’s swimming and diving) won the three-meter dive with a score of 226.45 to help the Spartan women earn a sweep this past weekend. Her score of 226.45 currently ranks 11th-best in the UAA.

Gavin Dersh-Fisher (wrestling) contributed six points towards the Spartans total during its dual meet against John Carroll on Sunday. Dersh-Fisher claimed a victory by pin against JCU’s Russell Porter (1:48). For the season, Dersh-Fisher leads the Spartans with five wins and has also totaled two pins.

Connor Nally (men’s basketball) averaged team-highs with 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds during the team’s opening two games of the season last weekend.  Nally shot 51.7% from the floor (15-of-29), including a mark of 35.3% (six-of-17) from three point range, and added a six-of-nine performance from the free throw line, while also collecting four assists, three blocks and three steals during the two games.

Kendall McConico (women’s basketball) helped the Spartans to a 1-1 opening week, averaging 18.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in two games.  Averaging 32.0 minutes per contest, McConico shot a blistering 71.4% from the floor, (10-of-14), including three-of-four from three point range and 13-of-16 from the free throw line.

2017 Spartan Club Athletes of the Week:

September 5th: Justin Phan (football) & Elle Zadina (women's soccer)

September 11th: Zachary Senft (men's soccer) & Karley King (volleyball)

September 18th: Jacob Burke (football) & Danielle Kulpins (women's cross country)

September 25th: Calvin Boyle (men's soccer) & Nithya Kanagasegar (women's tennis)

October 2nd: Rob Cuda (football) & Katie Kaminski (volleyball)

October 9th: Andrew Banathy (football) & Kimberly Chen (women's soccer)

October 16th: Rob Cuda (football) & Karley King (volleyball)

October 23rd: Justin McMahon (football) & Elle Zadina (women’s soccer)

October 30th: Michael Balog (men’s soccer) & Madeline Lindemann (women’s cross country)

November 6th: Paul Darmstadter (men’s soccer) & Brianna Lemon (volleyball)

November 13th: Sam Merriman (men’s cross country) & Danielle Kulpins (women’s cross country)

November 20th: Sam Merriman (men’s cross country) & Suhan Mestha (women’s swimming and diving)