The Baldwin Wallace University wresting team was able to bring home hardware recently at the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships. This is now the second time in three years Baldwin Wallace has come home with the title. In addition to the overall team success, the Yellow Jackets had six wrestlers place in the top-three in their weight class which qualifies them for the NCAA Nationals
Not only did the team get the recognition they deserve, but the coaching staff as well. Head coach Jamie Gibbs and his assistant coach Jason Zastrow were named both OAC Coach and OAC Assistant Coach of the Year, respectively.
Senior All-American 197-pounder Zeckary Lehman led the charge placing first with 23 points. In his first-round bout he swept 13-0 against his opponent. In his semifinal match up, Lehman secured a pin advancing to the championship match. Then he was able to secure an 8-0 major decision in his first-place bout, allowing him to perform at Nationals.
Senior All-American, and No. 4 nationally ranked 133-pounder, Charlie Nash also will be moving onto Nationals. Nash was able to get second place securing his spot in Cedar Rapids this weekend. Nash collected three victories, with a technical fall, a 4-3 decision in the quarterfinal and a narrower 7-6 decision in the semifinal. In the championship match, Nash dropped the bout in a 3-1 sudden victory.
Making the trip with the seniors, are two juniors as well. 157-pounder Dalton Leightner and All-OAC 149-pounder Stanley Bleich make up the middle third of those making it to nationals.
Leightner will be making the trip after securing a second-place spot. After two consecutive decisions, 6-4, and 9-5, Leightner matched up with No. 6 ranked Sam Gross from John Carroll. Leightner won that match with a 2-1 decision but fell in the championship round.
Bleich, an All-OAC 149-pounder, placed first in the weight class with two decisions and a medical forfeit in the championship match. With those three wins Bleich moved up to No. 15 on BW’s all time wins list with 96, Bleich sits 33 wins behind the No. 1 spot with his senior year remaining.
The last two Yellow Jackets making it to nationals are first-time attendees, and both are in their first season.
Freshman 125-pounder Jack Stanley, who was named All-OAC in his first season, won two decisions, including one over the No. 1 ranked 125-pounder, before dropping the championship match.
The other freshman making the trip is 184-pounder Doug Byrne. Byrne got through the first two rounds with a 4-0 decision and a pin, but dropped the semi-final match up. In the consolation bracket he was able to win a 15-0 decision and secured another pin in the consolation championship to lock up third place.
BW looks to cap off their incredible season on March 13 & 14 for the NCAA Division III Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.