BEREA, Ohio – The 19th-ranked (National Wrestling Coaches Association poll from February 9) Baldwin Wallace University wrestling team won its first outright Ohio Athletic Conference wrestling title since 1973, completed an unbeaten, 5-0 OAC season and set a school single-season victory record with its 18th this season with a 26-10 victory against rival Heidelberg University in the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium inside the Lou Higgins Center.
With its win, BW improved to 18-8 overall. Its 18th victory bettered the mark of 17 wins set a year ago when it finished 17-5 overall. In addition to it being BW's first OAC wrestling crown since 1973, it was its seventh in school history (1963, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1972 and 1973). Heidelberg dropped to 6-11 overall and 2-3 against OAC foes.
The Yellow Jackets gained a 4-0 lead at 125 pounds when sophomore Chris Doyle (Akron/ Green) won by a 15-3 major decision. He improved to 23-15 this season, 4-1 against OAC foes and 42-29 in his career.
The lead grew to 8-0 when senior 2-time Division III All-American and 2-time NWCA Scholar All-American 133-pounder Jesse Gunter (Akron/ Coventry) won by a 14-5 major decision. Gunter, who received the Haier Achievement National College Student-Athlete for the Month of February, improved to 27-1 this season, 4-0 against OAC competition and 113-13 in his career. His 113 wins ranks second all-time at BW. Gunter is ranked second in Division III at 133 pounds.
Heidelberg cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 8-4 when senior Justin Kihn, who beat Mt. Union's nationally-ranked 141-pounder Jeremy Border, last Tuesday, won by major decision over his BW opponent, 10-2, to stay undefeated in OAC competition.
Senior 4-year starting 149-pounder Joey Schmidt (Hinckley/ Brunswick) gave the Yellow Jackets an 11-4 lead when he won by a 3-0 decision. He improved to 19-8 this season, 3-1 versus OAC opponents and 81-55 in his career. His 81 wins ranks 16th all-time at BW.
At 157 pounds, BW freshman Richie Burke (Ithaca, N.Y./ Ithaca) increased BW's lead to 17-4 when he pinned his Student Prince opponent in 3:53. Burke won his 23rd match and improved to 23-15 this season and 4-0 versus OAC foes.
Fellow freshman and 165-pounder Anthony Arroyo (Maumee), this week's OAC Wrestler of the Week, extended BW's lead to 20-4 with a 4-2 win by decision. He improved to 16-4 overall and 3-0 versus OAC competition and won his ninth straight match.
At 174 pounds, senior Division III All-American Garrett Chase (Erie, Pa./ Cathedral Prep) was in a stalemate for the first two period versus his HU opponent but got an escape, takedown and riding time to win, 4-0, by decision and give BW a 23-4 lead and clinch the OAC title for BW. The win was his school career-record 124th and improved to 28-5 this season, 4-0 versus OAC opponents and 124-35 in his career.
Heidelberg got his second win and cut the BW lead to 23-7 when the Student Prince 184-pounder earned a 6-2 victory.
At 197 pounds, sophomore All-OAC and NWCA Scholar All-American Tyler Maclellan (Medina/ CVCA) increased BW's advantage to 26-7 with a 5-1 win by decision. He improved to 23-13 this season, 4-0 against OAC opponents and 39-20 in his career.
Heidelberg won the 285 pound match when its wrestler had a 16-second riding time advantage after three periods, two overtimes and three sudden victory periods. That made the final score 26-10 in BW's favor.
The Yellow Jackets are back in action this Sunday, February 21 when they compete at the Heidelberg Duals. Action starts at 10 a.m.. BW travels to the 2016 NCAA Division III Regional Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28 at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.