2015-16 CWRU Wrestling Season Preview

2015-16 CWRU Wrestling Season Preview

The Case Western Reserve University wrestling team will look to start a new chapter in the program's history when the team opens competition for the 2015-16 season this week.

Under new Head Coach Danny Song, the Spartans will be looking to bounce back from a 6-10 campaign during the 2014-15 season.  Song, the fourth head coach in the program's history, joined the Spartans after serving as an assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy, Bloomsburg University and the University of Iowa.  He will be overseeing a squad consisting of 11 returning wrestlers and seven freshmen.

"The number one goal coming into this season is to unite as a team," said Song.  "While wrestling is an individual sport, we will never meet and exceed our capabilities alone. There is no doubt we are tougher together."

Entering the season, competition has been strong in the 125-pound weight class between junior Matt Moy and freshman Luke DiMuzio.

"I am looking forward to see who emerges at 125 pounds," said Song.  "It is encouraging to know that both Matt and Luke meet the standard of Spartan Wrestling as evidenced by their work ethic and commitment. Here is real example of two guys going for the same thing with everything they have and because of that they raise the level of their counterpart. In time we will have this scenario in all ten weight classes, and when that happens we will have achieved our goal of uniting as a team, making each other better every day."

Another strength of the team appears to be the 174-pound class, where junior captain Nick Lees is entrenched. In 2014-15, Lees ranked second among all Spartans with 15 wins, including a team-best eight pins and a technical fall.

The Spartans might be most experienced at the two heaviest weight classes.  Junior Ryan Berg will lead the team at 197 pounds, after winning two matches at the NCAA Regionals last year, and finishing the campaign with a 3-6 record, while sophomore Adam Bloomer will add depth to the weight class.  Junior Nate Lewis, who is also a member of the CWRU football team, will return after going 12-12 with five pins at 285 pounds last season.

Options at 133 pounds include freshman Connor Howlin, while junior Connor Medlang, who was 1-1 at 133 pounds last year, will also wrestle at 141 pounds, where he was 2-0.  Returning for the team at 149 pounds is sophomore Connor Gordon (8-15, two pins in 2014-15), who will be challenged by promising freshman AJ Vetturini with Zachary Kline  and Zane Braslawsce adding depth both at 149 and 157 pounds.

Sophomore twins Nick Tommas (6-19, three pins) and Nate Tommas (1-7, one pin), and freshman Garrett Ruderman are all options for Song in the 165 pound matches, while at 184 pounds, sophomore Cito Balsells, who tallied three pins last year, and freshman Gavin Dersh-Fisher will be contenders for the spot.

The team has done an outstanding job of coming together so far," said Song.  "We have a few guys who are taking initiative and bringing energy, and this mentality is beginning to catch fire. As we continue this trend the next step is to truly look out for each other and make each other better. The most reliable way to do this is to hold each other accountable to doing the right things, the right way, every time. This is not always comfortable or convenient but it is worth it: all things worthwhile require honest sacrifice."

The Spartans will open up competition against crosstown opponent Baldwin Wallace University at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18th.  From there, CWRU will head to Olivet, Michigan for dual matches against Oliver College, Trine University and Adrian College on November 21st, before wrapping up the fall semester with invitational meets at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Cleveland State University.

CWRU will resume its season in mid-January with a pair of contests before returning to Horsburgh Gymnasium for its first and only home meet of the year, the Si Ostrach Tri Meet, where the team will face Muskingum and Washington & Jefferson.  In February, the squad will travel to the University of Chicago for the University Athletic Association Championships, and Lycoming College for the NCAA Mideast Regional.  Any qualifying wrestlers will advance to the NCAA Championships at Cornell College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 11th and 12th.

Fans can follow the action from this Wednesday's meet against Baldwin Wallace with live results at http://s200.trackwrestling.com/tw/seasons/LoadBalance.jsp?seasonId=56251094&pageName=DualDashboard.jsp&dualId=10596107 and a live video webcast at http://www.bwyellowjackets.com/sports/wrest/2015-16/videos/casewestern.