No. 8 Mount Union wins 2011 OAC Wrestling Championships crown
By Tim Glon
ADA — No. 8-ranked Mount Union won the 2011 Ohio Athletic Conference Wrestling Championships Saturday at the ONU Sports Center.
The victory was the 11th in program history and the first for the Purple Raiders since 1997.
It also snapped a string of five consecutive team titles for Heidelberg, who finished second.
Ohio Northern senior Luke Miller was named the John Summa OAC Most Oustanding Wrestler and Mark Hawald of Mount Union was named the OAC Coach of the Year.
Mount Union won the championship with 95.5 points, Heidelberg was second with 76 and No. 14 Ohio Northern was third with 68 points.
Baldwin-Wallace finished fourth with 49, John Carroll was fifth with 48, Muskingum was sixth with 12.5 points and Wilmington was seventh with 12 points.
The Purple Raiders won five of the 10 weight classes and had seven wrestlers reach the finals to earn All-Conference honors.
The 10 weight class champions and one at-large selection earn an automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Division III Championships March 11-12 in LaCrosse, Wis.
The 10 league runners-up also earn All-Conference honors.
At 125 pounds, Mount Union sophomore Riki Reynolds won his second consecutive OAC crown. Reynolds, top-seeded and No. 4 ranked nationally, won by fall in 1:56 over John Carroll sophomore John Cobos in the finals.
Reynolds will ender the NCAA Championships with the OAC's automatic bid at 125 pounds with a 23-6 record.
Heidelberg junior Tom D'Alessandro also defended his OAC title from a year ago at 133 pounds. Top-seeded D'Alessandro defeated second-seeded senior Phil Payne of Baldwin-Wallace by major decision 10-2.
D'Alessandro is now 14-4 on the year.
No. 9-ranked junior Josh Malave of Mount Union won the OAC title at 141 pounds after finishing runner-up in 2010.
Malave, the top seed in the weight class, edged third-seeded junior Greg Ryan of John Carroll 2-1 in the finals to improve to 30-6 on the season and advance automatically to the NCAA Championships.
Heidelberg sophomore Andrew Johnson won by default over top-seeded junior Kevin Shadrick at 149 pounds after Shadrik was disqualified in the finals match for injuring Johnson with an illegal hold.
Johnson, who earned All-OAC honors as a freshman in 2010 with a runner-up finish, improves to 19-13 on the season.
Second-seeded junior Mick Letcher of Ohio Northern defeated top-seeded junior Joe Spooner of Mount Union at 149 pounds by an 11-7 decision at 157 pounds.
Letcher wins his first OAC title and advances to the NCAA Championships with a 28-7 record.
The marquee matchup of the tournament lived up to its billing, as two top-10 ranked opponents battled to the final buzzer at 165 pounds.
Top-seeded and No. 6-ranked Miller of Ohio Northern scored a takedown with two seconds left to post a 6-4 decision over second-seeded and No. 8-ranked senior Matt Curley of Heidelberg.
Miller, the defending NCAA Champion and two-time defending OAC Champion at 157 pounds, is now a 3-time OAC Champion and a 4-time honoree. He will enter the NCAA Championships with a 25-4 record.
At 174 pounds, top-seeded and No. 1-ranked sophomore Kyle Kwiat of Ohio Northern defended his 2010 OAC title with a 4-3 decision over second-seeded senior Andrew Scavuzzo of Baldwin-Wallace in the finals.
Kwiat registered a reversal with 1:08 left and rode out Scavuzzo to record the win. He is now 29-4 on the season.
Top-seeded junior Andy Jenkins improved to 23-11 on the year and won the 184-pound weight class title with a 7-1 decision over sophomore No. 2-seed Kyle Raber of ONU.
Top-seeded senior and No. 4-ranked Bill Schindel of Mount Union won his third consecutive OAC title at 197 pounds. He defeated second-seeded senior Tristan Stoll of BW 10-1 by major decision in the finals.
A two-time All-American, Schindel will advance to the NCAAs with a sparkling 26-1 record.
At heavyweight, top-seeded junior Derick Hesson defeated second-seeded junior Jerry Knapp of Heidelberg 7-3 to win the OAC title. Hesson, an All-OAC honoree as runner-up in 2010, is now 26-7 on the season.