The John Carroll University wrestling team went into the Ohio Athletic Conference Championship meet at Mount Union College with high hopes. They wouldn’t leave disappointed.
Despite having only one individual winner, the Blue Streaks were able to finish a solid fourth out of the six teams competing
Heidelberg University, using first place finishes from three competitors, won its fifth straight team title, defeating runner-up Mount Union. Heidelberg finished with 101 points, well ahead of the Purple Raiders who finished with 89.5 points.
Ohio Northern University finished third with 71 points, and the Blue Streaks racked up 48.5 for the fourth place finish.
The lone individual champion for the Blue Streaks was senior Ben Adams. Adams, from Livonia, Mich., won his third consecutive individual title at the 184-pound level, defeating Heidelberg’s Ed Bizorik 9-2.
As a result of the victory, Adams will advance to the Division III Championships, held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, starting March 5.
Adams was pleased with the result, and credits his success over the past four years to the help of family, teammates and coaches.
“I’ve been really blessed with a great coaching staff and great guys around me,” Adams said. “There were a lot of times where it was difficult to get through a tough match or tournament, but there were always coaches and teammates there to help. These guys really pushed me to be the best.”
Freshman David Malkus at 141 pounds, sophomore Connor Suba at 149 pounds, sophomore Sean Gill at 165 pounds, and senior Alec Barker 285 pounds rounded out the placing for the Blue Streaks.
Suba took eventual champion Richie Clark of Mount Union to the limit, and defeated top-seeded Mick Letcher of Ohio Northern en route to a third place finish.
Malkus defeated Wilmington’s Tim Brown for his third place finish.
Gill beat Korey Leonhard of Baldwin-Wallace College for third place, while Barker, who entered the tournament unseeded, beat Justin Southwick of ONU.
Adams was pleased with the team’s effort.
“It’s definitely been an up and down season,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of trials and tribulations in terms of having people healthy and fielding a full and strong lineup. To come out and give an effort like that is special.”
The effort got particularly better as the day wore on.
“We had a lot of guys perform well in the finals round. We actually had a great finals round,” Adams said. “We had a lot of third and fourth place finishes, and those helped.”
Although he will be moving on after graduation, Adams was optimistic about the future of the Blue Streak wrestling team.
“We have a lot of young guys and people should be really excited about the future of John Carroll wrestling. I think these young guys will carry on the tradition well.”