Do you like to win? If you do, Baldwin Wallace University and its outstanding wrestling program is the place for you! This is a CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM.
The BW wrestling program is one best in the Ohio Athletic Conference, the Mideast (2016 and 2017) and Central Region (2018-2020) and all of NCAA Division III. In addition, BW wrestlers also have made a significant commitment in the classroom. History proves those facts, both past and present.
This Season: The 2019-2020 Championship Season
Great Final Ranking -- Despite the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Division III National Championships, Baldwin Wallace entered the national tournament as the highest ranked Ohio Athletic Conference team at No.6 in the February 24, 2020 National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III national rankings.
The 2020 Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year: On February 28-29, BW captured its second NCAA Division III Central Region Championship in the past three years and qualified a regional-best six wrestlers to the 2020 national tourney. Veteran Head Coach Jamie Gibbs earned his second Div. III Central Region Coach of the Year honor for the second time in the last three years. Head Assistant Coach Jason Zastrow, who was the Div. III National Assistant Coach of the Year three seasons ago, was tabbed as the Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year for the second time in the last three seasons.
Individual Success and a Family Team Culture: When BW won the Div. III Central Region title, almost the entire team, coaching staff and volunteer staff were on-hand to celebrate together and as a family. "It was important for everyone to enjoy the time, the moment the team success," said Gibbs, who led BW to a 14-3 dual match record this winter. "We work together, we play together, we study together, and generally we all hang out together!"
Our Six Division III National Qualifiers: Leading the way to Cedar Rapids are 2020 Central Region champions Stanley Bleich '21 (149 pounds) and Zeck Lehman '20 (197 pounds), second place finishers Jack Stanley '23 (125 pounds), Charlie Nash '20 (133 pounds) and Dalton Leightner '21 (157 pounds) and third-place finisher Doug Byrne '23 (184 pounds). Lehman and Nash were each making his third trip to the national tournament and are returning Division III All-Americans. Bleich is making his second trip, Leightner his first, and Stanley and Byrne are "going dancing" as freshmen!
The Best GPA in the OAC and 10th in Division III: BW ranked first in the OAC, second in Ohio and third in the Central Region with a 3.550 TEAM grade point average this winter and had eight of its student-athletes chosen as National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-Americans. Its grade point average ranked 10th in all of Division III!
Our Eight 2020 NWCA Scholar All-Americans: BW's eight 2020 NWCA Scholar All-Americans are NCAA Division III national qualifiers Stanley Bleich, Charlie Nash, Dalton Leightner and Doug Byrne as well as Tanner McHugh '21 (141 pounds), Nick Sbrocco '20 (165 pounds), Lucas Salmon '23 (174 pounds) and Griffin Rathburn (184 pounds).
The Recent Success: BW has won four of the past five Ohio Athletic Conference titles, including four straight from (2016 through 2019). That was a first in school history. The Yellow Jackets have compiled a 104-23 dual match record the last five seasons for an .819 winning percentage. It also includes a 31-3 mark and .912 winning percentage against OAC competition. In addition, BW has been nationally-ranked by the National Wrestling Coaches Association each season.
A year ago, in 2018-2019, the Yellow Jackets won their fourth consecutive OAC title, placed second at Central Regional, advanced six wrestlers to the Div. III National Tournament and finished 14th at the national tourney. Two earned Div. III All-America honors (Nash in fourth place and Lehman was seventh). BW had a 14-2 overall and a 5-1 OAC slate and was ranked as high as an all-time fifth in the final NWCA national poll. In addition, BW was honored at the NCAA Div. III National Tournament for having the second-best grade point average of any Division III wrestling program with a 3.58 team grade point average.
In 2017-2018, BW won its third straight OAC crown, captured its first-ever NCAA Division III Central Region title and advanced a record nine grapplers to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament, which was held at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio. The nine were the most of any school in Division III. Two earned Division III All-America honors. BW was 19-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the OAC and ranked as high as sixth in the NWCA national poll. In addition, BW has had 13 of its wrestling student-athletes named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-America team. That is more than any other school in Division III.
In both 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, BW placed second at the Mideast Regional Tournament and qualified seven wrestlers to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. In 2015-2016, BW compiled an 18-8 overall and 5-0 OAC mark. At that time the 18 wins were a school-record. A year later, Head Coach Jamie Gibbs' team set the current school record with 22 wins, compiled a 22-3 overall and 6-0 OAC mark.
In 2014-2015, Gibbs led his Yellow Jackets to a then record 17 dual match wins, a 17-5 overall and 4-1 OAC record, a sixth place finish at the Mideast Regional and a 20th-place finish at the Div. III National Tournament. Jesse Gunter, Garrett Chase and then sophomore Josh Decatur '18 were Div. III national tourney qualifiers, and Gunter (fourth) and Chase (seventh) went on to earn Division III All-America accolades. In addition, four student-athletes were named to the NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association) Scholar All-America Team. BW finished 20th in the final NWCA poll.
In 2013-2014, Gibbs and the Yellow Jacket program took a major step forward as it had an 8-3 dual match record and sent three wrestlers to the 2014 Div. III national tourney, including Gunter who placed third and earned Div. III All-American status. In addition, three Yellow Jackets, including Gunter, were named to the NWCA Scholar All-America Team. BW finished the season ranked 22nd in the final adidas-Brute/ NWCA Division III poll. It was BW's first Top-25 ranking since 2007
BW Has a Strong Wrestling History With Two National Champs and Two Runners-up:
BW is extremely proud of its two NCAA Division III national champions in Paul Petrella in 1977 and Kevin Higgins in 1989 and its two runner-up finishers in 177-pounder Kelly Keenan in 1994 and 285-pounder Bryan Kmetz in 2007, and a third place finish from junior Jesse Gunter.
Recent History of Individual Success:
- Two NCAA National Champions
- Two NCAA Runners-Up
- 15 Division III All-Americans
- 18 OAC champions
- 23 OAC runner-ups
The Legendary John Summa Built BW into a Winner In Wrestling in the 1960s:
The BW program began its run to excellence in 1948 when the legendary John Summa was named coach. In his 32-year career, Summa compiled a school and OAC-record 201-140-1 mark, including six OAC titles and a 105-38-1 OAC record. During much of Summa's early career, BW was not a part of the OAC and the Yellow Jackets competed against schools such as Kent State University, the University of Akron, Toledo, Ashland and other current NCAA Division I and II programs.