BEREA, Ohio – The 13th-ranked Baldwin Wallace University wrestling team travels to Grantham, Pennsylvania to compete at the 2015 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Tournament on Sunday, March 1 hosted by Messiah College. Fourth-year Head Coach Jamie Gibbs is excited about the trip as well as the direction of his program.
"We feel good about the improvements that we have made from last season," said Gibbs, who led the Yellow Jackets to a single-season school-record 17 victories, a 17-6 dual match record and a 4-1 mark in the rugged Ohio Athletic Conference this season. "Both individually and as a team, we are excited about the direction of our program.
"Seventeen wins was a great accomplishment," said Gibbs, "but that was not our goal as a team. Our goals are to have the best record in the OAC duals and to qualify as many individuals as we can to the NCAA Division III National Tournament."
Action at Messiah begins at 9:00 a.m. The top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to the 2015 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament on Friday and Saturday, March 13-14 in the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. A year ago, BW advanced three grapplers to the Division III National Tournament. Junior All-American 125-pounder Jesse Gunter (Akron/ Coventry) and junior 165-pounder David Shapiro (Beachwood) are back to try to qualify again.
"We finally have some depth at certain weights and will continue to work towards this for all ten weights," said Gibbs. "I truly believe that we have 10 wrestlers who are capable of placing in the top-six in our region."
The first half of the probable Yellow Jacket lineup includes Gunter (22-2/ 88-9 career), who is ranked third in Division III, at 125 pounds, freshman Markus Cruz (Lorain/ Clearview/ 25-16) at 133 pounds, sophomore Josh Decatur (Akron/ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy/ 30-9/ 46-29) at 141 pounds, junior Joey Schmidt (Hinckley/Brunswick/ 29-21/ 56-46) at 149 pounds and sophomore Graham Montague (Independence/ 18-13/ 40-32) at 157 pounds.
The second half of the probable lineup includes Shapiro (30-6/ 97-33) at 165 pounds, junior Garrett Chase (Erie, Pa./ Cathedral Prep/ 34-6/ 93-28), who is ranked 10th in the Division III, at 174 pounds, junior Ben LeBrun (Strongsville/ 28-11/ 70-42) at 184 pounds, freshman Tyler Maclellan (Medina/ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy/ 17-6) at 197 pounds and sophomore Andrew Shackelford (Worthington/ Thomas Worthington/ 25-9/ 43-24) at 285 pounds.