CWRU Wrestling 2015-16 Season Recap

CWRU Wrestling 2015-16 Season Recap

With a young squad under first-year head coach Danny Song, the Case Western Reserve University wrestling team experienced a season of growth during the 2015-16 campaign.

With 11 of the team's 14 wrestlers on the roster either freshman or sophomores, the team gained experience and consistently improved as the season progressed.  One of the team's major highlights came during the program's penultimate competition of the season, the 2016 University Athletic Association Championships in Chicago, Illinois, as freshman Brian McNamara won both of his heavyweight matches at the event to claim the UAA Championship in the weight class, becoming the 12th Spartan heavyweight to earn the honor, and the first since Dale English in 2013.  McNamara would go on to be named the 2016 UAA Rookie of the Year, becoming the first CWRU wrestler since Josh Hall in 2013 and the sixth Spartan overall to be selected as the conference Rookie of the Year.

The Spartans would finish third at the 2016 UAA Championships.

McNamara would be one of four Spartans to win a match at the NCAA Division III Mideast Region Championships, along with senior Nick Lees in the 174-pound draw, freshman Gavin Dersh-Fisher at 197-pounds and sophomore Nick Tommas in the 165-pound bracket.  Case Western Reserve finished 17th at the NCAA Regionals.

Earlier in the year, the Spartans earned their first victory under Song's leadership, topping Muskingum University 25-16 as a part of the Si Ostrach Tri Meet at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.  Trailing 16-6 in the contest, the Spartans would rally to win each of their final four matches to pull out the team victory in front of the home crowd.  Lees would get the Spartans started, scoring five points off a 22-2 victory by technical fall in the 174-pound match, and freshman Garrett Ruderman followed with a 19-3 technical fall win at 184 pounds to even the score.  Dersh-Fisher would win by forfeit at 197 pounds to give CWRU a 22-16 lead, and then McNamara would secure the victory with a 5-2 win in the heavyweight bout.  The Spartans would finish the season 1-7 in dual matches.

Other notable tournament finishes for Case Western Reserve during the year included a 12th-place finish at the RIT Invitational on December 5th, an eighth-place finish at the Will Abele Invitational on January 16th, and a 29th-place finish at the Pete Willson Invitational on January 29th and 30th.

Lees, the team captain, would pace the Spartans during the season with 13 wins, eight pins and a pair of victories by technical fall.  Adding seven wins and a pair of pins during the campaign was sophomore 157-pounder Connor Gordon, while Dersh-Fisher won six matches (including five at 197 pounds), and McNamara finished with a 5-4 record.

In addition to their performance on the mat, the Spartans excelled in the classroom during the campaign.  Four members of the team – sophomore Cito Balsells, junior Matt Moy, and sophomores Nate Tommas and Nick Tommas – received UAA All-Academic recognition based on their cumulative grade point averages.

The Spartans earned the following honors during the 2015-16 season:

 

University Athletic Association Rookie of the Year

Brian McNamara

Aurora, Ohio / Aurora

UAA Champion

Brian McNamara

Aurora, Ohio / Aurora

285 lbs.

UAA Athletes of the Week

Nick Lees

Cleveland, Ohio / St. Ignatius

Nov. 23rd, Jan. 25th



The following Spartans led the team during the 2015-16 season:

Wins

Nick Lees

13

Winning Percentage

Brian McNamara

.556 (5-4)

Pins

Nick Lees

8

Technical Falls

Nick Lees

2