The Case Western Reserve University wrestling team will look to make the next step as the team enters its third season under Head Coach Danny Song in 2017-18.
In Song's first two seasons, he has produced two All-UAA wrestlers and a UAA Rookie of the Year. In 2016-17, eight members of the squad received UAA All-Academic Recognition based on their cumulative grade point averages.
In addition, CWRU capped off their 2016-17 campaign by receiving the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III Scholar Team Award with the nation's highest grade point average. With a team GPA of 3.48, this was the first time since 2007 that the Spartans were ranked No. 1 in Division III.
"The throwback match-ups this past weekend were a great icebreaker for the season," said Song. "With making weight and competing in this mock meet our guys were able to start to craft their competing routine. Developing a consistent competition routine is critical for us to be at our best mentally and physically. "
Song's 2017-18 roster will include 15 returnees and four newcomers for a total of 19 wrestlers.
Other returners with significant experience from last season include seniors Connor Gordon, Nate Tommas and Nick Tommas, junior Brian McNamara and sophomores Jacob Frisch, Alec Hoover, Andrew Hoover and Michael Petersen.
Gordon won 11 matches in the 165-pound weight class, including a win at the NCAA Division III Mideast Region Championships. Nate Tommas won two matches at 174, and will serve as team co-captain this year. Nick Tommas added 14 wins and three pins at 174, and will also serve as team co-captain this year. McNamara picked up 13 wins and five pins in the 285-pound weight class. Frisch earned 14 wins at 125, including five pins and one technical fall. Alec Hoover added 19 wins at 133 and earned a win at the NCAA Division III Mideast Championships, while Andrew Hoover picked up 10 wins in the 141-pound weight class.
"With having all 10 starters returning, we are positioned to spring board off of last year's finish," said Song. "Look for Isaac Collier, Alec Hoover and Gavin Dersh-Fisher to shine once again this season. They are our experienced veterans who have unfinished business to handle this year. Michael Hughes is a promising newcomer hopeful to break into the lineup and represent us this year as well."
Other Spartans returning this season are senior 184-pounder Cito Balsells, senior 285-pounder Nate Lewis, junior 125-pounder Luke DiMuzio, sophomore 141-pounder Ben Kring and sophomore 157-pounder Andrew Munn.
The Spartans will open intercollegiate competition on Sunday, November 12th as they host the 2017 Ohio Intercollegiate Open. From there, CWRU will head to University Heights, Ohio to face John Carroll University on Sunday, November 19th, before wrapping up the fall semester with an invitational meet at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday, December 2nd.
"Looking ahead at the Ohio Open, our home-opener will be a high caliber event and a great way to spark the season," said Song. "It will also prove to be our litmus test for the following weekend's dual meet against rival, John Carroll. Both events are dates that we've had circled on our calendars for several months now. Going into our final preparation, you can feel and see the energy levels are up."
CWRU will resume its season at the Waynesburg Invite in Waynesburg Pennsylvania on January 6th, before returning to Horsburgh Gymnasium for a tri-meet against Lourdes University and Thiel College on Wednesday, January 10th at 6:00 p.m. The Spartans will host the Si Ostrach Meet on Saturday, January 13th, where the team will face Brockport, Washington & Jefferson and KSU-Tuscawaras. CWRU closes out the month of January with a tri-meet in New Philadelphia, Ohio and the Pete Willson Invitational hosted by Wheaton College.
In February, the squad will compete at the John Summa Tournament, hosted by Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, on February 3rd. The Spartans will then travel to the University of Chicago for the University Athletic Association Championships before competing at the NCAA Mideast Regional for the right to participate in the NCAA Championships. Any qualifying wrestlers will advance to the NCAA Championships at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio on March 9th-10th.