BEREA, Ohio -- The Baldwin Wallace University wrestling team had its best season in the history of the program and the successes didn't just happen on the mat. They also took place in the classroom as the Yellow Jacket team and seven of its starters were honored at the 2016 NCAA Division III National Wrestling Championships by the NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association).
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BW's ten starters combined for a fine, 3.14 grade point average, to rank 26th in Division III and received a team award from the NWCA. In addition, seven of its 10 starters received individual honors from the NWCA. They are senior 133-pound three-time Division III All-American Jesse Gunter (Akron/ Coventry), senior 174-pound All-American Garrett Chase (Erie, Pa./ Cathedral Prep), sophomore 197-pound Div. III national qualifier Tyler Maclellan (Medina/ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy), senior All-Ohio Athletic Conference 149-pounder Joe Schmidt (Hinckley/ Brunswick), senior All-OAC 184-pounder Ben LeBrun (Strongsville), sophomore 285-pounder Andrew Sierawski (Delaware/ Hayes) and freshman All-OAC 157-pounder Richie Burke (Ithaca, N.Y./ Ithaca).
"We are extremely proud of both our team and individual academic honors through the NWCA," said fifth-year Head Coach Jamie Gibbs. "At the Division III level, our wrestling student-athletes are students first and foremost. To have the team honored as well as seven individual members of our program is outstanding and tells the parents of all of our wrestlers that we are doing the right things the right way.
"Add that success to what we accomplished on the mat this season and on our campus and we are very grateful," continued Gibbs. "I attribute a great deal of this success to our administration, coaching staff and the BW culture and philosophy of the student-athlete, and I know that our senior student-athletes were both great role models and the leaders of it."
Gunter, who placed fifth at last weekend's NCAA Division III National Championship Meet in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for his third straight Division III All-American accolade, also earned his third straight NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American award. He carries a 3.43 grade point average, has already completed his degree requirements in education and is seeking a second major in business. Gunter also placed third at 125 pounds at the 2014 NCAA Championship Tournament and fourth as a junior in 2015. Gunter ended his career 36-4 this season and ranks second all-time with a 121-15 record.
Chase entered the NCAA Div. III national tourney seeded sixth at 174 pounds. The two-time first-team All-OAC selection did not place at this year's national tourney but was seventh in 2015 to earn All-American honors. He carries a 3.314 grade point average in sport management and is a first time honoree by the NWCA as a Scholar All-American. Chase ended this season with a 33-7 mark and his career as BW's all-time leader in victories with 129 and a 129-37 overall record.
Maclellan made his first NCAA national trip after narrowing missing a berth as a freshman. The two-time first-team All-OAC selection is now a two-time NWCA Scholar All-American. Maclellan carries a 3.517 grade point average in business management. He also earned Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference accolades this winter. This season, Maclellan produced a 27-16 record and is 43-23 for his career.
Schmidt narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Div. III tourney this year and had a 23-9 record. He carries a 3.421 grade average in exercise science and is a first time NWCA Scholar All-American. The four-year starter ends his career with a 86-57 record to rank tied for 14th all-time.
LeBrun is a three-time NWCA Scholar All-American and another four-year starter. He carries a 3.789 grade point average in international studies and national security and will be a CAPITAL ONE Academic All-America candidate this spring. LeBrun had a 25-16 record this season and ends his career with a 95-60 career mark to tie for eighth all-time.
Sierawski split time with senior Joe Belford (Berea/ St. Edward) at 285 pounds and compiled a 16-6 record. The starting offensive tackle on the football team carries a 3.676 grade average in education and hopes to teach and coach after graduation. He earned his first NWCA Scholar All-America award this winter and has a 31-15 career slate entering his junior season in 2016-2017.
Burke had an outstanding freshman season and is another wrestler who narrowly missed making this year's NCAA tourney. He had a 27-17 record after taking over as the starter midway through the season. He also carries a 3.2 grade average in business administration and is a first time NWCA Scholar All-Americam.
In 2015-2016, the BW wrestling team set a school-record for dual match victories with 18, finished 18-8 overall with a perfect 5-0 mark versus OAC competition to claim its first OAC title since 1973. The Yellow Jackets also placed an all-time best second at the NCAA Div. III Mideast Regional Tournament two weeks ago.