WILLIAMSPORT, Pennsylvania -- The 18th-ranked Baldwin Wallace University wrestling team placed second of 18 teams at the 2016 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Tournament at Lycoming (Pa.) College in Lamade Gym. In addition, the Yellow Jackets qualified three of their individuals, senior 174-pound All-American Garrett Chase (Erie, Pa./ Cathedral Prep), sophomore 197-pounder Tyler Maclellan (Medina/ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) and senior two-time All-American 133-pounder Jesse Gunter (Akron/ Coventry), to compete at the NCAA Division III National Tournament on March 11-12 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Ohio Athletic Conference-champion Yellow Jackets scored 109.5 team points to place second to defending regional champion Messiah (Pa.) College. The second place finish was BW's best-ever and bettered last season's sixth place showing.
Chase, who entered the regional ranked eighth at 174 pounds, won the title with a 4-0 record that included two wins gainst wrestlers ranked higher. He opened with a pin in 4:43 and then defeated Tom McNulty of Cleveland cross-town rival John Carroll University, 3-1. In the semifinals, Chase pinned seventh-ranked Sammieboy Blanco of Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College at 6:53. In the championship match, he controlled Messiah's Ben Swarr, ranked fifth in Div. III, and earned an 8-6 win and a regional title. Chase is making his second trip to the national tournament after placing seventh a year ago. With his 4-0 mark, Chase enters his second national tourney at 32-5 this season with a school career-record 128 wins and a 128-35 career mark.
Maclellan placed second and had a 3-1 record. He won his first match by a fall in 2:53 and then won a 10-5 decision. The All-OAC grappler then upset fifth-ranked Kyle Koser of Messiah when he turned him and pinned him in 6:11. In the championship match, Maclellan wrestled well but gave up an escape in the third overtime/ tie-breaker and lost 2-1. He is 26-14 this season and is 42-21 entering the national tourney.
Gunter, who entered the regional ranked second in Div. III at 133 pounds, had to work overtime for his third straight trip to the Div. III national tourney. After winning by a 9-1 major decision in his first match, Gunter lost for just the second time this season (both by one point) to another OAC wrestler, 4-3. Just like at the national tourney a year ago, Gunter battled back to win five straight matches, finish 6-1 for the tournament and place third to earn his trip to Cedar Rapids. Gunter is 33-2 this season and enters the national tournament with a 119-14 career mark to ran second all-time in wins.
In addition to the trio heading to the national tournament, senior 184-pounder Ben LeBrun (Strongsville) placed fourth and the trio of senior 149-pounder Joey Schmidt (Hinckley/ Brunswick), 157-pound freshman Richie Burke (Ithaca, N.Y./ Ithaca) and freshman 165-pounder Anthony Arroyo (Maumee) each placed fifth.
LeBrun had a 4-2 record to place fourth at 184. His slated included a 6-3 win against the seventh-ranked wrestler in Div. III. He ends his season at 25-16 and his career at 95-60. Schmidt was 3-2 at 149. After two wins in the top bracket, he was defeated 6-2 by the No.9-ranked wrestler in Div. III. He won by major decision to place fifth and improve to 22-10 this season and 86-57 for his career. Burke and Arroyo both ended outstanding initial collegiate seasons. Burke had a 4-2 record to finish his first seasopn at 27-17, and Arroyo was 3-2 at the regional to finish 19-6 this season. Both Burke and Arroyo defeated JCU wrestlers in their fifth place matches.
Also competing at the regional were sophomore 125-pounder Chris Coyle (Akron/ Green), sophomore 141-pounder Pat McGinnis (Egg Harbor City, N.J./ Cedar Creek) and senior 285-pounder Joe Belford (Berea/ Lakewood St. Edward). Doyle and McGinnis each had a 2-2 record while Belford was 1-2 at the regional with both of his losses coming in overtime. Doyle finishes the season at 26-17 and is now 44-30 for his career. Belford had a 22-17 mark this season and ended his career at 68-54.
The Yellow Jackets are the 2016 Ohio Athletic Conference champions, had a single-season school-record 18 victories with an 18-8 overall and perfect 5-0 OAC mark. Head Coach Jamie Gibbs was the OAC Coach of the Year and nine of the 10 BW starters earned All-OAC honors, including five first-team and four second-team selections.