Wrestlers place fifth in season opener

Nov. 19, 2014 By Christopher Clapper

In the first competition of the year and first under head coach Ned Shuck, the UW-Whitewater wrestling team finished fifth-place out of 25 teams at the Luther Open in Decorah, Iowa.

Comprised of schools from all three NCAA divisions, the ’Hawks held their own against D-I colleges Minnesota University and Iowa University.

Ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division-III by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, the ’Hawks registered 550 team points and finished 80 points ahead of sixth-place Luther College.

The ’Hawks were only three points behind fourth-place  Minnesota.

“I thought [our first competition] went really well,” Shuck said. “It was a good snapshot of where we’re sitting right now and exactly what we we’re looking for as far as where these guys were at.”

Sophomore Ronny Hauser had the best day of all the wrestlers with a second-place finish at 133 lbs., going 2-1 on the day.

Other stand out wrestlers include senior Ryan Aprahamian with a third-place finish, and fourth place finishers Trevor Pruett and sophomore Jordan Newman.

Senior Elroy Perkin took home fifth-place and Anthony Edgren and Zac Denny each finished sixth.

The ’Hawks placed seven wrestlers in the top six of each of the ten weight classes, as well as the third highest number of pins in the tournament with 20.

For it being the first competition of the year, Shuck did not see much rust from his wrestlers but thinks they have room for improvement as the year progresses.

“The biggest thing that really stuck out to me was that we just weren’t pulling the trigger fast enough or as much as we could be,” Shuck said. “We’re just wrestling a little tight and a little conservative and I’d like to see that open up a little more.”

A national runner-up from a year ago, sophomore Matt Adcock liked what he saw from his team in their first tournament of the year considering the quality of the competition.

“It looked like, out of all of the Division III teams that were there, we were the only ones who were fighting and giving it to the other Division I and Division II schools,” Adcock said.

Not only did the starters wrestle well against the tough competition, but many of the backups did as well wrestling in the ‘silver’ division that was reserved for freshman or first-time college wrestlers.

Casey Crangle and Isaiah Vela had particularly good days finishing first and second in the 149 lbs. silver division.

Logan Hanselmann also had a productive tournament finishing second in the 125 lb silver division.

“I was really impressed with some guys from the freshman [silver] division,” Adcock said. “Casey Crangle and Isaiah Vela both made it to the finals which was cool to see two [UW] Whitewater guys in the finals.”

With the first competition of the year in the books, the ’Hawks open WIAC conference play at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 at UW-Platteville with Shuck hoping to get the conference season started off on the right foot.

“They have a good coach down there, and we know they’ll be prepared,” Shuck said. “We’re obviously very confident in our team and are excited to go down there and hopefully put a whoopin’ on em.”

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