Posted: Mar 01, 2015
GRANTHAM, Pennsylvania – Three Baldwin Wallace University wrestlers, junior All-American 125-pounder Jesse Gunter (Akron/ Coventry), sophomore 141-pounder Josh Decatur (Akron/ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) and junior 174-pounder Garrett Chase (Erie, Pa./ Cathedral Prep), led the Yellow Jackets to a sixth place finish at the 2015 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Tournament at Messiah (Pa.) College. The trio also qualified for the NCAA Division III National Tournament on March 13-14 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylavnia.
Gunter and Chase each placed second and Decatur was third as the top three in each of the 10 weight classes qualify for the national tourney. It is Gunter's second straight trip and the first for both Chase and Decatur. This marks the second straight seasons that BW qualified three grapplers to the national tourney. In addition, junior 184-pounder Ben LeBrun (Strongsville) and sophomore 197-pounder-turned-285-pounder Andrew Shackelford (Worthington/ Thomas Worthington) each placed sixth, and freshman 197-pounder Tyler Maclellan (Medina/ CVCA) also wrestled well and nearly had a chance to battle for a national berth.
Gunter, who was seeded third at 125 pounds, earned his second trip to the NCAA tourney with a 3-1 record and his second straight second place finish at the regional. He beat Ty Price of Ohio Athletic Conference rival Heidelberg University, 4-3, in the first round, pinned Kyle Drick of Lycoming (Pa.) College in 6:46 in his second match, beat second-seeded Mike Mancini of the University of Mount Union, 2-1 in the second overtime period, in the semi-final, and lost to top-seeded Lucas Malmberg of host Messiah, 8-4, in the championship match. He improved his season record to 25-3 and his career mark to 91-10.
Decatur was unseeded and advanced with a 4-1 record, including a pair of wins in the winners bracket. He began with a 3-1 win versus John Connick of cross-town rival John Carroll University, beat Justin Kihn of Heidelberg, 7-4, in his second match and then lost to top-seeded Kaleb Loht, 10-5, in the semi-final. He came back in the consolation bracket to beat Dan Pommerere of Washington & Jefferson, Pa. College, 9-5, and defeated Brockport (N.Y.) University's Sean O'Hagan, 5-3, to place third and earn his trip to the national meet. Decatur improved to 34-10 this season and 50-30 in his career.
Chase earned his trip to Hershey with a 3-1 slate as he beat Nick Lees of cross-town rival Case Western Reserve University, 6-1, in his first match, topped OAC rival Ohio Northern University's Tyler Gargano, 3-1, in his second bout, beat Thiel, Pa. College's Jordan Powell, 4-2, in the semi-final, but lost to Messiah's Josh Thomson, 8-4, in the championship bout. Chase improved to a team-best 37-7 this season and 96-29 in his career.
LeBrun had a 2-3 record to place sixth. He ended his season with a 30-14 record and improved to 72-45 in his career. Shackleford, who is an actual 197-pounder but moved to 285 pounds/ heavyweight for the regional tournament, had a 3-3 slate to place sixth and end his campaign at 28-12 and improve his career slate to 46-27. He lost in the consolation semi-final, 2-1 in overtime, and was close to wrestling for a national berth. Maclellan also was close to battling for an NCAA berth. He also lost, 2-1 in overtime, in his consolation bracket senmi-final. He had a 2-2 record at the regional and was 19-8 this season.
The others to compete were freshman 133-pounder Markus Cruz (Lorain/ Clearview, who was 1-2 at the regional and 26-18 this season;,junior 149-pounder Joey Schmidt (Hinckley/ Medina Highland), who was 1-2 at the regional, 30-23 this season and 57-48 for his career; sophomore 157-pounder Graham Montague (Independence) was 2-2 at the regional, 20-15 this season and 42-34 for his career; and junior 165-pounder David Shapiro (Beachwood) was 1-2 at the regional, 31-8 this season and 98-35 in his career,
BW ended its regular season with a school-record 17 victories (the old mark was 12) and finished 17-6 overall mark and second during the Ohio Athletic Conference dual match schedule with a 4-1 mark.