GVSU earns top-10 finish in Texas at NCWAs

By Mark Washburn | 3/18/15 8:27pm

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The Grand Valley State men’s club wrestling team finished ninth at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) National Championship over the weekend in Allen, Texas. GVSU tallied 66 points over the six-session span while competing against 18 other NCWA Division I teams. 

Earlier in the year, the Lakers placed fifth in the NCWA National Duals. They were hoping to use that success to vault them to a higher standing at the end of the national tournament, but weren't overly excited with the final results.

“We had placed fifth at the team duals and were very intent on placing higher than that at the individual tournament,” said GVSU wrestler Bailey Bischer said. “We were pretty disappointed with the overall finish but we had some guys perform very well.”

When all was said and done, the team had two All-Americans. Freshmen Zane Corey (141) took fourth place; Bischer (157) placed sixth. 

Bischer said he considered his last match to be a disappointment because he couldn’t pull out a tough victory for the fifth-place finish. He had beaten the opponent from Central Florida earlier in the season, but was dealt a loss on ride time (a single point awarded after the match if a wrestler is able to stay on top for a cumulative time of one minute).

“It was a heart breaker to say the least," he said.

Apart from the All-Americans, the Lakers had a number of strong performances from wrestlers like Ben Wright (157), Gabe Stepanovich (165), Dan Tomasello (197) and Miguel Correa (285). 

Tough brackets, close calls and a “blood round” kept the Lakers from higher finishes and a few more All-American bids.

Despite a somewhat disappointing outing on an individual level, the Lakers improved their team chemistry. Eliminated wrestlers supported those still in the hunt in any way possible.

Bischer took note.

“Words can hardly do justice to how much I really loved being a part of the team this season," he said. "We’ve traveled with one another, stayed in hotels with each other for days at a time and competed alongside our teammates. 

"We’ve been dehydrated and hungry alongside our teammates, and had each other's backs the whole time. It's things like these, and the sacrifices that we made for each other.”

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