ADRIAN, Mich. – The No. 6 Nationally-Ranked Baldwin Wallace University wrestling team placed first out of 18 teams at the NCAA Division lll Central Region Championships, hosted by Adrian (Mich.) College, inside the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center.
With the championship, BW has now won two regional titles in the last three years. In addition to BW placing first, head coach Jamie Gibbs and assistant coach Jason Zastrow were named Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Yellow Jackets were led by senior All-American and three-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference 197-pounder Zeckary Lehman (Akron/Revere), as he placed first with 23 points. He grabbed a 13-0 major decision in his first-round bout. For his quarterfinal, he claimed a 5-2 decision and advanced to the championship match after a 3:40 pin in his semifinal bout. The senior seized an 8-0 major decision in his first-place bout to move onto nationals.
Junior three-time All-OAC and Academic All-OAC 149-pounder Stanley Bleich (North Ridgeville/Elyria Catholic) placed first with 21 points, and grabbed a 9-3 decision in his opening bout. Bleich seized a 5-3 decision in his quarterfinal match and a 6-3 decision over No. 5 Luke Hernandez of the University of Mount Union in his semifinal to advance to the championship bout. Bleich grabbed an 11-1 medical forfeit over No. 3 Zachary Cooper of Alma (Mich.) College to take first place and a spot in nationals. Bleich is now No. 15 on BW's all-time career wins list with a record of 96-18.
Freshman All-OAC 125-pounder Jack Stanley (Brecksville/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) placed second with 17 points and won his first-round bout with a forfeit. The freshman took his quarterfinal match with a 2-0 decision, and with a 6-5 decision over the No. 1 individually-ranked Carlos Champagne of Wabash (Ind.) College, Stanley advanced to the championship bout. Stanley fell in the first-place bout to 4-3 decision for a second-place finish and a trip to nationals.
Senior All-American, Academic All-OAC and No. 4 nationally-ranked 133-pounder Charlie Nash (Norwalk) placed second with 16.5 points and started his regional with a 15-0 technical fall, before snagging a 4-3 decision in his quarterfinal bout. In his semifinal match, Nash notched a narrow 7-6 decision. Nash dropped his first-place bout to a 3-1 sudden victory but will advance to nationals.
Junior 157-pounder Dalton Leightner (Ravenna/Rootstown) earned a second place spot with 15 points. He started his regionals with a 6-4 decision and followed that up with a 9-5 decision in his quarterfinal bout. With a 2-1 decision over No. 6 Sam Gross of John Carroll University in his semifinal, Leightner advanced to the championship match. The junior dropped the first-place bout to a 6-3 decision, but will move onto nationals.
Freshman 184-pounder Doug Byrne (Wickliffe) earned a third-place finish with 16.5 points. He won his first-round match with a 4-0 decision and grabbed his quarterfinal bout with a 4:10 pin. Byrne dropped his semifinal to an 11-6 decision. In his consolation semis the freshman secured a 3:50 pin and punched his ticket to nationals with a 5-2 decision for third place.
Freshman All-OAC 174-pounder Luke Salmon (Sandusky/Perkins) placed fourth with 14 points. He seized a 13-0 major decision in his opening round bout, and in his quarterfinal, he seized a 4-2 sudden victory to move onto the semis. Salmon dropped his semifinal to No. 3 Darden Schurg of Wabash by way of an 18-5 major decision. In his consolation semifinals, he won by way of 15-0 tech fall. The freshman dropped his third-place bout to a tight 3-2 decision.
Senior All-OAC 165-pounder Benjamin Hooff (Worthingon/Thomas Worthington) placed fourth with 13.5 points. He secured a 43 second pin to open his regionals and in his quarterfinal bout he grabbed a 3-2 decision. In his semifinal bout, Hooff fell to No. 1 Kyle Hatch of Wabash, by way of a 3:46 pin. The senior won his consolation semi with a 2-1 tiebreaker before falling in the third-place bout to a 3-1 sudden victory. Hooff has moved into BW's top-25 career wins list with a mark of 79-47.
Sophomore 285-pounder Jarod Miller (Greenville, Pa./Reynolds) earned a sixth place finish with 13 points as he pinned his opponent in 2:22 to start his regionals. The sophomore fell I his quarterfinal to a 10-2 major decision. He won his second-round consolation match with a 2:22 pin and followed that up with a 9-1 decision in his third-round consolation. Miller dropped his consolation semis to an 8-0 major decision.
Junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC 141-pounder Tanner McHugh (New Ringgold, Pa./Tamaqua) earned an eighth place finish with 4.5 points. He secured a 3-1 decision in his opening match before falling in his quarterfinal. He dropped the seventh place bout to an 8-4 decision.
BW will hit the mats next on Friday and Saturday, March 13 & 14 for the NCAA Division III Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Matches are set to begin at 9 a.m on both days.