WHEATON, Illinois -- The No.19-ranked Baldwin Wallace University wrestling team placed sixth of 32 teams at the prestigious at the Pete Willson Invitational hosted by Wheaton College inside the King Arena. The invitational featured seven teams ranked in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Top-25 Division III national poll and 24 individuals ranked in the Top-10 in the 10 respective weight classes.
BW, who was the highest Ohio Athletic Conference finisher, scored 80 team points to place sixth. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, who is ranked 14th, was the team champion.
BW, who had five wrestlers finish in the top eight, was led by senior Division III All-American Jesse Gunter (Akron/Coventry) as he was the champion at 133 pounds and received the Pete George Sportsmanship Award. Senior Division III All-American 174-pounder Garrett Chase (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep) finished third. Sophomore 125-pounder Chris Doyle (Akron/Green) took fifth place and senior 285-pounder Joe Belford(Berea/St. Edward) was seventh and senior senior 184-pounder Ben LeBrun (Strongsville) was eighth.
Gunter went 4-0 in the invitational after receiving a first round bye. He won his first two matches by pin and closed out the tournament with two decision victories. In the championship match, Gunter defeated Dustin Weinmann of Wisconsin LaCrosse, the No.5-ranked 133-pounder in Div. III. Gunter is now 23-1 this season and an impressive 110-12 in his illustrious career.
Chase had a 5-1 record. He won his first three matches and advanced to the semifinals before losing his first match to a nationally-ranked Div. II wrestler from Wisconsin Parkside. He won two matches in the consolation bracket, including his final match by an 8-1 decision to earn a hard-fought third place. Chase is now 21-4 this season and owns a BW school-record 119 career wins.
Doyle, who went 5-2 in the invitational, won his first two matches before losing in the quarterfinals. In his second match, Doyle pinned the No.2-ranked 125-pounder in Division III, Ben Vosters of Wisconsin Stevens Point. He won his first two matches in the wrestle backs before suffering his second loss which was versus the No.1-ranked 125-pounder in Division III. Doyle placed fifth as he won by forfeit.
Belford, who went 4-2 in the invitational, won his first two matches before losing 6-1 in the quarterfinals to the No.1-ranked 285-pounder in Division III. He won his first match in the wrestle backs before suffering his second loss. Belford placed seventh as he won by pinfall.
LeBrun, who went 3-3 in the invitational, lost his first match and then won three straight matches before losing. He won his first match in the wrestlebacks and eventually earned eighth place.
Other Yellow Jackets to compete included junior 141-pounder Zack Taylor (Brunswick), senior 149-pounder Joe Schmidt (Hinckley/ Brunswick), junior 157-pounder Graham Montague(Independence), junior 165-pounder Kenny Faulkner (Beliot/ West Branch) and sophomore All-Ohio Athletic Conference 197-pounder Tyler Maclellan (Medina/ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy).
The Yellow Jackets are back in action on Tuesday, February 2 when they travel to Alliance to face No.22-ranked University of Mount Union in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex at 7:30 p.m. Next Saturday, Feb. 6, BW hosts the 29th Annual John Summa Memorial Tournament in the Lou Higgins Center Fieldhouse. Action begins at 10 a.m.