The 2019-20 Case Western Reserve University wrestling team has high expectations as the squad enters its fifth season under Head Coach Danny Song.
In Song's first four seasons, he has produced five All-UAA wrestlers, two UAA Rookies of the Year and earned the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year. In 2018-19, the squad earned its highest finish at the 2019 University Athletic Association Championships since Coach Song took over the program prior to the 2015-16 season.
In addition, the Spartans capped off their 2018-19 campaign by having seniors Isaac Collier and Alec Hoover named as National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III Scholar All-Americans. The squad as a whole was also recognized with the NWCA Scholar Team Award with the nation's 11th-best grade point average.
Song's 2019-20 roster will include 16 returnees and seven newcomers for a total of 23 wrestlers.
"The continued progress rests on continued individual development," said Song. "Now in year five we have a roster of 23, this is an excellent demonstration of the elite level experience we are providing. We pride ourselves on positive mindset, good energy/body language and high work ethic."
Headlining a group of 16 returnees is senior 133-pounder Alec Hoover who paced the Spartans during the year with 27 wins, followed by senior 165-pounder Isaac Collier who recorded 26 wins. Alec Hoover tallied seven pins and two technical falls, while Collier totaled eight pins and three technical falls.
In addition, Collier and Alec Hoover placed in their respective weight classes at the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships. Collier finished sixth in the 165-pound weight class and Alec Hoover placed eighth in the 133-pound weight class.
Senior Andrew Hoover and sophomore Adam Kates were also bright spots for the Spartans last season. Andrew Hoover was named the All-UAA wrestler in the 149-pound weight class, while Kates was named the UAA Rookie of the Year and was also the All-UAA wrestler in the 125-pound weight class.
Other returners with significant experience include senior Jacob Frisch, juniors Thomas Gallagher and Brian Kent, and sophomores Brandon Barton, Brandon Callow, Trevor Chippas, Jack Chipps, Duncan Clayton, Manhatton Gatton, Patrick Hebreard, Kyle Roberts and Grant Robinson.
Frisch won 12 matches last year, as he competed primarily in the 133-pound weight class. Robinson and Clayton tallied 12 and 11 wins during their first year as Spartans, respectively. Gallagher and Kent will bring leadership as they enter their junior seasons, while Barton, Callow, Chippas, Chips, Gatton, Hebreard and Roberts each return for their second year in the program.
In addition to the 16 returnees, Song welcomes seven newcomers to the program, including junior Joey Shulik, and first-years Stephen Andryc, Mitchell Arch, Connor Forrest, Nolan Hogue, Liam Jeske, and Brad Staron.
"Stephen Andryc has shown incredible progress and development in the last eight weeks," said Song. "He really seems to enjoy the process and thrives on competition. His drive is one of those intangibles that will take him a long way."
The Spartans will open intercollegiate competition on Friday, November 1st as they face Cleveland State University and John Carroll University in the Cleveland Clash. From there, CWRU will host the 2019 Ohio Intercollegiate Open on Sunday, November 10th.
"The Ohio Intercollegiate Open will once again be the deepest and most competitive tournament in the region," said Song. "Competition will feature Division I, II, III and NAIA schools with competitors coming from all over the Midwest, the East and as far as Georgia."
The Spartans will then host the CWRU Mini Invitational on Saturday, November 16th. CWRU will then head to Berea for the BW Invite on Saturday, November 23rd, before wrapping up the fall semester with an invitational meet at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday, December 7th.
CWRU will resume its season with three-straight home meets, as they host the D3 National Challenge on January 4th, the Lourdes vs. Thiel Throwdown on January 8th and a pair of dual matches against Ohio Wesleyan University and Otterbein University on January 15th. The pair of dual matches will also serve as senior night. The Spartans will then hit the road for the Hanke Invite in Elmhurst, Illinois on January 18th, before returning to Cleveland to host the Si Ostrach Meet on Saturday, January 25th, where the team will face Adrian, Waynesburg, Washington & Jefferson and KSU-Tuscarawas. CWRU closes out the month of January and begins the month of February with the Pete Willson Invitational hosted by Wheaton College.
The squad will host Defiance and Penn St.-Behrend on Saturday, February 8th, before preparing to travel to New York on Sunday, February 16th for the University Athletic Association Championships.
"The UAA Championships are always circled on our calendars as we will look to improve on last year's finish," said Song.
From there, the Spartans will compete at the NCAA Central Regional in Adrian, Michigan for the right to participate in the NCAA Championships. Any qualifying wrestlers will advance to the NCAA Championships at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 13th-14th.