The Case Western Reserve University wrestling team overcame an early deficit on Saturday morning to pick up a 25-16 win over Muskingum University at the 2016 Si Ostrach Meet, hosted by the Spartans at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.
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The win, coming in the team's only home match of the year, was the first of the season for the Spartans, who improved to 1-5 overall for the 2015-16 campaign. It also marked the initial victory in the career of Head Coach Danny Song, in his inaugural season at the team's helm. Muskingum fell to 1-5 with the loss.
The format of Saturday's annual Si Ostrach meet was shortened, due to poor weather conditions that kept Washington and Jefferson College from attending as scheduled. However, the match against Muskingum proceeded as planned, along with special ceremonies for the events' namesake, Si Ostrach, and Spartan senior Nick Lees.
Lees leads the team in wins and pins this season, and secured the 38th win of his four-year career as a Spartan during Saturday's match.
The Spartans fell behind early in the team score, after losses in the 125-pound and 133-pound matches put the squad in an early 9-0 hole to the Fighting Muskies. CWRU picked up its first points of the match after freshman Connor Howlin earned a win-by-forfeit at the 141-pound bout, bringing the score to 9-6.
After a double-forfeit at 149-pounds, Muskingum would win both the 157-pound match and the 165-pound match to push its lead to 16-6.
However, CWRU swept its final four matches to secure the comeback victory. Lees, on his senior day, started the rally with a dominating 22-2 technical fall victory over Tevon Gary, pulling the Spartans back to within five points, 16-11. It was the team-leading 10th win of the year for Lees, and his second victory by technical fall.
Freshman Garrett Ruderman followed with a technical fall victory of his own, defeating Muskingum's Caleb Fox 19-3, and tying the team score at 16-apiece. It was the first collegiate victory for Ruderman.
A win by forfeit at the 197-pound match for freshman Gavin Dersh-Fisher put the Spartans in the lead, 22-16, for the first time on Saturday. Then, wrestling in his first collegiate match ever, freshman Brian McNamara secured the victory with a win in the heavyweight bout, defeating Antonio Zapata by decision, 5-2.
CWRU will be back in action next weekend, when the team travels to Wheaton, Illinois for the Pete Willson Invitational, hosted by Wheaton College on Friday, January 29th and Saturday, January 30th.