Jacob Decatur Crowned National Champion as Wrestling Earns Eighth Place at Nationals  

The Baldwin Wallace Wrestling team earned their highest ever finish a the Baldwin Wallace NCAA Division III National Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 11-12, capping off a strong performance which included a national championship victory for junior Jacob Decatur. 

The Yellow Jackets concluded an impressive season with strong individual and team performances to finish in 8th place. This included the title in the 125-pound bracket for All-Ohio Athletic Conference and All-American Decatur, and a runner-up finish for All-OAC and All-American senior Michael Petrella in the 149-pound category. 

The Jackets sent seven wrestlers to the Division III championships. Due to COVID-19, this was the first year since 2019 that the Division III National Championships occurred. 

Decatur entered the tournament as the top seed in the 125-pound weight class defeated four opponents en route to a championship victory in his class, including a 6-3 win over 7th seed Carlos Champagne of Wabash College (Ind.) in the finals. 

Decatur concluded the season with a 35-1 record and is the first BW wrestling national champion since Kevin Higgins in 1989. 

Petrella finished as the runner-up in the 149-pound bracket after defeating 2nd-seeded Kristian Rumph of Wartburg College (Iowa) in the semifinals but falling 4-2 to top-ranked Brett Kaliner of Stevens Institute of Technology (N.J.). Petrella finished the season with a record of 37-3. 

In addition to Decatur and Petrella, senior 157-pounder Stanley Bleich and senior 165-pounder Dalton Leightner each earned All-American honors. 

Bleich finishes his time at BW as the all-time wrestling victory record-holder, with a career record of 136-29. Bleich turned in a 31-9 record in the 2021-22 season. 

Leightner ends his collegiate career ranked tenth in BW history with 105 all-time wins. 

Sophomore Jaden Hinton also competed for BW in the 133-pound category. Freshman Donovan Palmer represented BW in the 174-pound group, and All-OAC junior Luke Salmon competed in the 184-pound bracket.