2011-12 Spartan Wrestling Preview
CLEVELAND, Ohio – There will be a different feel around the Case Western Reserve University wrestling program in 2011-12. With the passing of Head Coach Bob Del Rosa this past summer, there will be someone new at the helm for the first time in 46 years. And with nine letterwinners returning from last year's roster, Interim Head Coach Chris Nader has high expectations for this group of Spartans.
"My expectations for these guys are extremely high," said Nader, a two-time All-American at 157 and 165 pounds for CWRU in 2001 and 2002. "I am really impressed by the athleticism and toughness in the room. We had a young team with some injuries last year. But, being in the room every day and wrestling with these guys, I'm expecting them to surprise a lot of people this winter."
Harter competed in a team-high tying 40 matches and posted a record of 21-19 with eight pins in the heavyweight division as a junior. He was also named a National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-American and the University Athletic Association Wrestler of the Week on February 14.
"I'm excited for our captains," said Nader. "Cale (Harter) is working extremely hard, and he has a good group of young upper weights to compete with at practice. I think he will be right there at the end of the season with a chance to go to nationals. He has improved every year, and I expect that trend to continue."
Weaver, a 157-pounder, wrestled in only nine matches as a junior due to injury, but he did compile a 22-15 mark as a sophomore with a UAA Athlete of the Week nod.
"Kyle (Weaver) had an injury-riddled junior year, but he won over 20 matches as a sophomore," continued Nader. "He has looked great in the room so far, and I believe he is going to have a tremendous season. He is setting a great pace in practice each day, and I can't wait to see him wrestle the top kids in his weight class. I think he can really make some noise at the national level."
Also back in the senior class is 149-pounder Kurtis Jensen (Marsfield, Mass./Marsfield) and 125-pounder Jimmy Millar (Dublin, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson). Jensen competed in three different classes (157,165 and 174) last season and posted three pins. Millar was 8-5 as a freshman in 2008-09 but did not compete during the past two seasons.
The junior class returns 184-pounder Peter Heggs (Cleveland, Ohio/Shaker Heights), 157-pounder Evan McDowell (Bellaire, Texas/Episcopal) and 197-pounder David Yeu (Plainview, N.Y./Bethpage). Heggs earned five wins with a pin last season, McDowell was 8-13 with three pins and a technical fall, and Yeu missed the season with an injury after competing in seven matches as a freshman.
The Spartan sophomore class has four letterwinners with Frank Hu (Delaware, Ohio/Orange) at 125 lbs., Brian Snyder (Charlotte, N.C./East Mecklenburg) at 141, Dylan Novisky (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport) at 174 and Rylan Pyciak (Rayland, Ohio/Buckeye Local) at 197.
"Our juniors and sophomores are ready to make a statement this year," noted Nader. "They have been figuring out what positions they need to be in during matches, and I am confident they are going to have strong seasons."
Nader also welcomes a three-man freshman class into the mix, giving the Spartans 14 wrestlers heading into the season.
"Our guys have displayed a determination to embrace the process," said Nader. "They are actively trying to get better each and every day. There hasn't been a time where they have just gone through the motions. This is a hard-nosed and smart group of kids who are open to growth and committed to being their best. I am extremely excited to see how good we can be at the end of the year."
The Spartans are on the road for the entire 2011 portion of the schedule, starting with the annual Messiah College (Pa.) Invitational on Saturday, November 5 at 9:00 a.m. The team isn't home until the New Year with a dual match versus the University of Mount Union on January 21 at 1:00 p.m. The final month of the regular season will all be at home as Case hosts the UAA Championship on February 11, the Si Ostrach Meet on Feb. 18, and the NCAA Midwest Regional on Feb. 25.