BEREA, Ohio – The 2017-18 Baldwin Wallace University wresting team is poised to become just the second team in history to win three straight Ohio Athletic Conference championships.
Seventh-year head coach Jamie Gibbs, who is the reigning two-time OAC Coach of the Year and has a career 70-29 dual match record at BW, returns 12 letterwinners, three national qualifiers and one All-American from last year's team that won its second straight OAC Championship and set a new school record with 22 dual match wins. The Yellow Jackets finished second at the NCAA Mideast Regional and qualified four wrestlers to the NCAA National Tournament a season ago.
"Expectations are high," Gibbs said. "Our team is working hard with what I believe to be one of the best coaching staffs in Division III to make sure their work ethics and practice habits match their goals. We have a talented group of freshmen that will make an impact on the program immediately. Hosting the National tournament will add excitement to the season as well."
Junior All-American Anthony Arroyo (Maumee) returns to the team after a stellar sophomore campaign that ended with a fifth-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament, earning All-American honors. The junior also earned All-Mideast Region honors by placing third at the Mideast Regional and was a first-team All-OAC selection after compiling a 32-6 season record.
All-OAC seniors Chris Doyle (Akron/Green) and Gabe Mahaney (Green) also competed at the NCAA Division III National Tournament after third place finishes at the Mideast Regional, earning All-Mideast Region honors. Doyle finished the season with a 27-14 record while Mahaney notched a 27-8 record.
Four additional All-OAC wrestlers return to the team in juniors Richie Burke (Ithaca, N.Y.), Benjamin Hooff (Worthington/Thomas Worthington), Zeckary Lehman (Akron/Revere) and senior Academic All-OAC Tyler Maclellan (Medina/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) as they all received second-team selections a season ago.
Lehman recorded a 30-win season with a 30-9 overall record while Hooff and Maclellan each notched 23 wins. Burke finished off the season with 16 wins after switching from 157 pounds to 149 pounds early in the season.
Seniors Sam Delarge (Clifton Park, N.Y./Albany Academy), Grant Rathburn (New Albany/Bishop Hartley) and National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-American Andrew Sierawski (Delaware/Hayes) all return for their final season as a Yellow Jacket, bringing experience and leadership to a relatively young roster, while juniors Christopher Head (Massillon/Jackson) and Justin Ransom (Madison) round out the upperclassmen portion of the roster.
Sierawski and Ransom each notched 20-plus win seasons as Sierawski finished with a 23-7 record and Ransom compiled a 20-7 mark. Rathburn and Head both recorded at least 10 wins a season ago while Delarge notched three wins in limited time on the mat.
Sophomores NWCA Scholar All-American Nicholas Berry (Laura/Dayton Carroll), Dante Ginnetti (Poland/Seminary), Adam Green (Austintown/Austintown Fitch), Aaron Kelly (Rocky River), Louie Lachapelle (Maumee), NWCA Scholar All-American Charlie Nash (Norwalk), Nick Sbrocco (Perry), Eddie Sternad (Brecksville/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) and Christian Wellman (Applecreek/Waynedale) will look to build upon their freshman campaigns.
Nash came up one win short of qualifying for the National Tournament at 133 pounds as a freshman and finished the season with 26 wins. Five other freshmen notched double-digit wins in their first year of collegiate wrestling as Ginnetti recorded 24 wins, Berry had 19 wins, Wellman earned 13 wins and Green and Sternad each notched 12 wins. Kelly and Lachapelle both recorded nine wins and Sbrocco had six wins in limited action.
Sixteen freshman join the team this winter as Zachary Baker (Marengo/Highland), Stanley Bleich (North Ridgeville/Elyria Catholic), Tai Bloch (Worthington/Hilliard Darby), Maxwell Bourque (Avon), Kyle Brady (Milford), Michael Carpenter (Middleburg Heights/St. Edward), Chad Craft (Dayton/Northmont), Chase Craft (Dayton/Northmont), Errik Gerback (Louisville/Marlington), Kevin Kelly (North Olmsted), Dalton Leightner (Ravenna/Rootstown), Brandon Linder (Medina/Highland), Tanner McHugh (New Ringgold, Pa./Tamaqua), Ryan Orr (Wadsworth), Trevor Scherf (Graytown/Oak Harbor) and Michael Yacapraro (Wooster/Triway) will look to learn from their experienced teammates.
BW opens up the 2017-18 campaign in grand fashion when the Yellow Jackets host OAC and crosstown rival John Carroll University on Friday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Ursprung Gymnasium. BW, along with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, will also host the 2018 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships March 9-10 at the historic Cleveland Public Auditorium.