Cleveland State won their 46th meeting with John Carroll by a 40-6 score in Woodling Gym. It is the first time CSU scored 40 points against JCU since 1988. Evan Cheek, Mike Kostandaras, and Mike Carlone all received forfeits, while Sam Wheeler recorded a pin. Nathan Wynkoop picked up a technical fall up two weight classes. Riley Shaw and Nick Montgomery each won by major decision. Chas Busz won the closest bout on the day with a riding time point win at 157. John Carroll's Tyler Hardtke and Tom McNulty picked up back to back wins over John Vaughn and Gabe Stark. CSU is now 1-0 while JCU is 2-3.
The 46TH meeting between the wrestling teams of Cleveland State University and John Carroll University will take place at 4pm on Sunday in CSU's Woodling Gymnasium. The continuance of the match marks the importance of wrestling in Northeast Ohio as both programs have featured some of the greatest athletes in the area. A new wrinkle in this year's dual will be John Carroll's first new coach in over twenty years, JCU's all time wins leader, Mark Hawald. Hawald, taking over for Kerry Volkman, previously coached at Case Western and Mount Union. Last year's match was won 39-9 by CSU, the second most points CSU ever scored against JCU. CSU started the season with one champion and five placers at the Clarion Open last weekend while JCU started their season off today going 2-2 at their own JCU Duals. Make sure to stop by and see the tradition continue tomorrow.
After holding public wrestle offs last week, the Vikings returned to intercollegiate action for the first time since March. They quickly showed they will be a contender for the EWL title this season.
The upperweights were particularly strong for CSU. Riley Shaw won 5 matches to repeat as Clarion Open Champion building on his preseason top 10 ranking. In the finals, he defeated a top 100 recruit Austin Myers of West Virginia. Sam Wheeler, a graduate transfer from Kent State, shook off some of the rustiness from a year off collegiate competition and practice to earn a third place finish ahead of a Division 2 national champion at 197. His only loss on the day was to Lock Haven's EWL runner up and NCAA qualifier Phil Sprenkle. Nick Corba, who was busy this summer competing at world level Greco competitions, showed that it paid off with a fourth place finish at 184. Then at 174 true junior Gabe Stark came back from an early round loss to finish fourth losing to West Point Prep's Ben Harvey twice.
At 133, Mikey Kostandaras had a terrific day going 5-2 to take home fourth place. Impressively, he twice beat top 100 recruit Korbin Myers of Edinboro during the day. He also beat another EWL rival in Mike Bartolo of Clarion. Nick Montgomery showed once again that he can score points in bunches by posting 4 double digit wins before falling in the finals at 149 to Virginia's TJ Miller. Montgomery beat Viking true freshman Grant Turnmire in the quarterfinals. Turnmire ended up with a 2-2 record in his first collegiate outing.
Also picking up victories for CSU were Nick DeRosa (125), Evan Cheek (125), Jayce Carr (141), John Vaughn (157), Chas Busz (157), Nathan Wynkoop (165). Notably, true freshman Evan Cheek went 4-2 in a very tough weight in which he posted a big win over top 50 recruit and 2015 Pennsylvania State Wrestler of the Year Devin Brown of West Virginia University by a 10-4 score.
Virginia dominated the tournament with 6 champions and 13 top 4 finishers. Matching CSU, Eastern rival Lock Haven had one champ (Tristan Sponsellor at 184) for a total of 6 top 4 finishers. Host Clarion had the other two champs at 141 and 165 but only 2 other top 4 finishers. Other Division 1 teams with top 4 placewinners were Edinboro, Kent State, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia as well as Division 2 powers Pitt-Johnstown and Cleveland's Notre Dame.
CSU has their home opener next Sunday in the next edition of the historic Cleveland rivalry against John Carroll, one of the longest running dual matches in all of collegiate wrestling.
In addition to three early signees, three other graduating seniors have committed to wrestle at CSU. The three early signees were Evan Cheek of Milan (OH), John Vaughn of Boiling Springs (PA), and Grant Turnmire of Almont (MI). The three recent additions were Jacob Worthington, Terrell Grant, and Ryan Montgomery. All three are from the Northeast Ohio region.
Jacob Worthington was a teammate of Evan Cheek this year at Milan Edison High School, which as a team finished third in the state in Division 3 as well as making the semifinals of the state dual championships. Worthington was a three time state qualifier and placed all three years at the state, impressive for an upperweight. His first two years at state he wrestled for Keystone Lagrange High School, placing 5th and 6th in Division 3 at 182 pounds. He capped off his career with another 5th place finish at 195 for Edison High School.
Ryan Montgomery is the younger brother of current Viking 149 pound starter Nick Montgomery. This season Montgomery was a captain for Madison High School and was a Mentor district placer at 145. As a junior, he placed eighth in the state in Division 1. He will look to bolster the middleweights at CSU.
Terrell Grant will come to CSU from Tallmadge High School and likely be a 125 pounder. Grant had an excellent senior season starting off as the 7th place finisher at 106 in the Walsh Jesuit Ironman tournament, the toughest high school tournament in the country. At state he wrestled 113 and also took home a 7th place from Columbus in Division 2. He was also a state qualifier as a junior at 106 falling one match shy of placement.
Cheek, Vaughn, and Turnmire also finished their high school careers strongly after signing with CSU in November. Evan Cheek was instrumental in Edison finishing third in the state with a dominant individual state championship performance. Cheek was crowned champion at 126 in Division 3 winning by technical fall in his first two bouts, a major decision in the semifinals, and a decisive 5-1 victory in the state finals The state championship caps his two state placements as a sophomore and junior as well as two national Cadet freestyle awards and a 7th at the Super 32. John Vaughn likewise led his team to state success as Boiling Springs won the AA state championship in talent rich Pennsylvania. Vaughn got on the podium this time at the state tournament after two previous trips to states by finishing as the Pennsylvania runner-up at 160 pounds. Grant Turnmire made it four trips to state in four tries in Michigan and finished his career with a fourth place at 135. Turnmire was the state champion the year before and 7th as a sophomore.
These six will enter a CSU team that finished 2nd in EWL duals and 4th in the EWL tournament. They will look to help take CSU to top of the EWL in addition to All American level success at the Division 1 NCAA tournament.
Alfredo Gray and Nick Corba have placed at the United World Wrestling University Nationals Greco-Roman division at 63 kgs and 85 kgs respectively. Alfredo placed 7th and Nick placed 4th.
CSU scored a perfect 1000 academic progress rate that the NCAA tracked for the 2013-2014 period. CSU wrestling was one of only five D1 wrestling schools to get the perfect score for this most recent tracking period. It is the first time in the history of the NCAA APR that CSU wrestling scored a 1000. Cleveland State now has the highest multi-year (4 year average) APR in the Eastern Wrestling League with a 964 overall.
The National Wrestling Coaches Association came out with its academic awards this week for Division 1. CSU was in the top 30 for 2014-2015 team GPA. Most importantly, Riley Shaw and Ben Willeford were named Academic All-Americans for this season for their performance on the mat as well as the classroom. Shaw and Willeford led CSU to its best record in both the classroom and collegiate competition in over ten years. They were ranked in the top 20 of their weight classes virtually all season and were a combined 19-1 in dual meets. Shaw was undefeated in all duals (the first CSU wrestler to accomplish the feat in over a decade) while Willeford was 9-1 with eight wins coming by bonus points for a remarkable team-high total of 42 team points. Both placed in the Southern Scuffle marking the first time two CSU grapplers placed in the major in-season tournament since the early 1990s. Willeford graduated this spring ending his career as a two time EWL finalist and one time champ, while Shaw will lead the Vikings as a senior next season and look to make it two EWL titles to go along with his two third place finishes.
CSU's Horizon League Championship team is competing in the Seattle regional this week. Senior golfer Michael Balcar was first team All Horizon League for the third straight season.
Former CSU wrestler and baseball player Stipe Miocic once again proved he is one of the best mixed martial artists with his TKO over Mark Hunt. The win moves him to 7-2 in the UFC and 13-2 overall as a professional fighter. Of course, he is also a professional everyday as a firefighter and paramedic in Valley View just outside of Cleveland.
At the Student-Athlete Honors luncheon, nine wrestlers were recognized for their outstanding work in the classroom. Those invited were Chas Busz, Michael Carlone, Jayce Carr, John Martin, Nick Montgomery, Riley Shaw, Ramon Stone, Benjamin Willeford, and Nathan Wynkoop. Ben Willeford was given the day's highest honor in the John McLendon Award, given to the graduating student-athlete that best displays integrity and dedication in their efforts for CSU Athletics. John McLendon, former CSU basketball coach, is one of the most underappreciated name in sports as the first college basketball coach to win three national titles (NAIA) when he coached down South and known as one of the great ambassador for all that athletics stands for if you talk to anyone who knew him.
At the VESPYS, the CSU Athletics Award Show, Ben Willeford and Riley Shaw were honored. Riley Shaw won the most outstanding male athlete of the year award. Ben Willeford was awarded Mr Viking which goes to the graduating male senior with the most school spirit. Last year, senior wrestler Corbin Boone also won the award. These awards are voted on by fellow student-athletes as well as coaches and athletic staff.
CSU wrestling has much to be proud of in these young athletes. Thank you to everyone who supports their efforts.