Best in the nation. These are the words that describe the Wabash Wrestling team. Altogether, they are ranked #2 in the country. Four wrestlers are ranked within the top five: Carlos Champagne ‘22 (133lbs) at #5, Alex Barr ‘22 (149lbs) at #4, Kyle Hatch ‘22 (165lbs) at #1, and Max Bishop ‘22 (285lbs) at #1. The Wrestling team showcased their perpertual dominance this past Saturday at Adrian College for the first time in two years.
COVID-19 canceled the National Tournament in March 2020 the day before the wrestlers were slated to compete. They proved their ranking this weekend. The team had champions in six weight classes. They were: Chris Merrill ‘23 (125lbs), Blake McGee ‘25 (133lbs), Gavinn Alstott ‘25 (141lbs), Tyson Nisley ‘24 (157lbs), Chase Baczek ‘25 (184lbs), and Jack Heldt ‘23 (197lbs). Ten others placed in the top five, and, in many cases, the placement came down to Wabash vs. Wabash. In two weight classes, these were the finals. The wrestling team was buzzing with excitement to be back on the mat.
Both Hatch and Bishop mentioned this is one of the things they were most excited about. “I am excited for nationals and another opportunity to compete,” Bishop said. Hatch also noted on how “I am also excited for the team aspect. We have not won a trophy since I’ve been here, and this could be the year.”
There was also a lot of underclassmen success. Three freshmen won their weight classes. Bishop said this was one of the most exciting aspects of being a captain. “It’s great to see the potential of this team,” Bishop said. “I am so impressed by the underclassmen and their ability to go toe-to-toe with everyone and get after it. This is a young team, and I look forward to seeing the future.” Bishop is also looking forward to the future for the chance to compete at home an unusually high amount compared to previous years.
The team wrestles four times at home this year. The next one is against Manchester College today in Chadwick Court. Wabash College is a heavy favorite. They also have two more tournaments in the future and one more dual meet. The team is excited for the chance to be at home and have their support.
The team also has an exciting future when they go to tough tournaments like the Concordia Open, where they will have the opportunity to show the nation why they are ranked among the best. This past weekend, they showed this fact when they easily came in first place, beating the second place school, Adrian College, by seventy-one points.
The team was also number one in the following statistics: Most Pins Least Time (17 pins, in 37 minutes 54 seconds, Most Tech Falls Least Time (6 tech falls in 27 minutes and 12 seconds), and Most Total Match Points (350). Overall, there were twentytwo wrestlers who placed within the top eight out of the fourteen schools there. The team is a heavy favorite, as they see this as another opportunity to improve and be ready for the meat of the season.
Nationals and etching their name into Wabash history as champions once again is the central motivation for the team and the individual competitors in their respective weight classes. The season comes down to trophy or bust.