BEREA, OHIO -- Expect the 2012-2013 Baldwin Wallace College University wrestling team to be better under the direction of second-year Head Coach Jamie Gibbs. Gibbs goal is to build the Yellow Jacket program into one of the best in NCAA Division III. His team took its first steps in that direction last weekend when it opened the season at the Ithaca (N.Y.) Invitational Tournament.
Before heading to Ithaca last weekend, BW was picked by the coaches to finish tied for fifth of six teams (tied with Muskingum University) in the OAC Coaches poll.
This season, Gibbs has a 21-man roster to start the season, which is eight grapplers more than a year ago, but he returns just three members from last year's squad and has 18 talented newcomers who will battle for the 11 starting spots.
At Ithaca, three Yellow Jacket freshmen, 125-pounder Jesse Gunter (Akron/Coventry), Garrett Chase (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep) and Lane Louive (Massillon/Washington) each placed third at a tourney that included three nationally-ranked teams in the nine team field.
"We will use the first several tournament to find out who are varsity is going to be," said Gibbs, who came to BW from the University of North Carolina Pembrook. "We, as a team and coaching staff, understand this is a process and it is going to take some time to build this program back into being one of the most respected in Division III.
"Everyone will wrestle in four tournaments and the guys who perform the best at each weight class and at the most tournaments should be the varsity starter," continued Gibbs. "Right now, our guys are working hard and we have some weight classes that are going to be interesting to see who comes out on top."
The three returning wrestlers from a year ago are junior 141-pounder Andrew Taylor (Columbus/Worthington Kilbourne), sophomore 149-pounder Sam McIntosh (South Euclid/ Brush) and sophomore 157-pounder Alex Cahill (Westlake). Taylor and McIntosh each placed fourth at last year's OAC Tournament and Cahill was the starter at 157 pounds.
McIntosh fashioned a 17-13 mark last season and had 24 takedowns and a team-leading 13 reversals. Taylor was a combined 13-16 overall, including a team-high-tying four falls, and was 12-16 at 133 pounds. Cahill had a combined 3-16 record, including a 2-16 slate at 157 pounds. Both McIntosh and Taylor did not compete at Ithaca but should be available this weekend.
"We appreciate the hard work and efforts that Sam, Andrew and Alex put in a year ago and we again are counting on them to help us take that next step as a team," said Gibbs. "And, we have a talented group of newcomers who are ready to get after it on the mat. We are excited to get the season started at Ithaca.
In addition to Gunter, Chase and Louive, the newcomers include freshmen in 141/149-pounder David Ballard (Cardington/Buckeye Valley), 285-pounder Joe Belford (Berea/St. Edward), 133-pounder Aric Cross (Geneva), 174-pounder Brian Fox (Dublin/Scioto), 149-pounder Kyle Johnston (Lancaster), 197/285-pounder Wesley King (Columbus/Dublin Scioto), 125-pounder Jacob Landers (Liberty Twp./Lakota East), 165/174-pounder Ben LeBrun (Strongsville), 141-pounder Connor Lesniak (Altoona, Pa.), 149-pounder Jaleel Richardson (Copley), 149-pounder Joey Schmidt (Hinckley/Brunswick), 157/165-pounder David Shapiro (Beachwood), 285-pounder Brett Spinelli (Wadsworth), 184-pounder Kevin Thomas (Fairview Park/Fairview) and 133-pounder Zach Walker (Fairlawn/Copley).
This Saturday, November 10, BW will compete at the Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College Invitational. In addition, the Yellow Jackets travel to the annual Ashland University Harris Invitational on November 17 and end the early-season tournament schedule at the annual Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology Invitational on December 1. BW's first home match is on Tuesday, January 22 when the Yellow Jackets host the University of Mount Union in an OAC match inside of the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium of the Lou Higgins Center at 7:30 p.m. The 27th Annual John Summa Memorial Tournament is scheduled for February 2 at 10:00 a.m.
FOR MORE BW SPORTS INFORMATION, please contact Sports Information Director Kevin Ruple by telephone at 440-826-2327 and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. or Assistant SID Jeff Miller by phone at 440-826-2780 and email at email@example.com Fans can access the latest B-W athletics information at www.bwyellowjackets.comand we invite you to join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bwyellowjackets and Twitter athttp://twitter.com/bwathletics.