Cardinal Wrestling Returns Experienced Lineup for 2014-15 With High Goals and a Strong Focus for Continued Success
Wesleyan wrestling will return a veteran squad for the 2014-15 campaign focused on a high level of winning wrestling. The Cardinals have been nationally ranked among the top 30 Division III squads at the end of the season four times in the last five years including a best-ever 11th-place ranking following the 2012-13 season. The 2011-12 squad ranked 29th, as did the 2010-11 team. The 2009-10 Cardinals finished 26th in the national poll.
The highly regarded 2012-13 squad, ranked 10th in the country, was invited to compete in the pretigious National Dual Championship in Springfield, Ill. where the team finished sixth among 16 competing teams, nearly all of which were ranked among the top 30 in the country. It was only the second time in the history of the event that a New England squad placed in the top eight. Wesleyan hosted and won the final New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Championship in 2012, its second New England title with the first coming in 1984. Wesleyan now competes in the Northeast Regional Tournament for NCAA individual qualification with the 14 NEWA squads along with Ithaca, Cortland, Oswego and Oneonta. Wesleyan hosted the 2014 Northeast Regional Championship. During the season, the NEWA still holds its own dual-match tournament and Wesleyan had a string of four straight years in the top three, including a title in 2011 (third in 2010, first in 2011, third in 2012 and third in 2013).
During the 2012-13 season, 149-pounder Howard Tobochnik '13 (bottom photo) wrapped up his career with a trip to the NCAA Division III tournament as he posted 119 career wins, a Wesleyan record. He received Wesleyan's Roger Maynard Award as the top senior male scholar-athlete at the college. He also ranked seventh nationally for pins that year with 15, while 141-pounder Nick Scotto '13 (top photo) led the nation (all divisions) with 21 falls. Two other members of the class of 2013 boast over 100 career wins with 174-pounder Kyle Roosa '13 collecting 108 along with a trip to Nationals in 2012 behind a NEWA title, and Jefferson Ajayi '13 coming up with 106 as a two-time NCAA qualifier and Wesleyan's most recent All-American, placing seventh nationally at 184 pounds in 2013.
Over the years, Wesleyan has amassed 23 National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-Americans, 25 New England individual titles (collected by 15 individuals) and five All-Americans. Wesleyan has been a NWCA Scholar All-America team 14 consecutive years, all under Head Coach Drew Black, who has 164 career dual-match victories and was NEWA Coach of the Year in both 2010 and 2012. During Coach Black's tenure, five wrestlers have received top Wesleyan athletic awards, two as Maynard Award winners (Tobochnik and Nick Bazos '02) and three as Carl Aherns Award winners (Brian Fair '01, Adam Jonas '05 and Dan Bloom '10), signifying the top contributor to Wesleyan men's athletics over the year.