It didn’t take much for the Cleveland State wrestling team to come out of the gates quickly in the 2015-16 season. The Woodling Warriors, as they’ve dubbed themselves on social media, went into the Clarion Open and had five wrestlers finish in the top four in the tournament.
Leading the way, naturally, was nationally-ranked Riley Shaw, who took the title in the heavyweight division. The senior cruised through his opening matches before running into some resistance at the hands of Pat Gillen of Virginia during the semifinals.
But top-seeded Shaw prevailed in the end with a 3-2 decision. The finals pitted him against Austin Meyers, who wrestles for West Virginia but was competing independently for this tourney. Again, Shaw overcame a strong challenge to win, 3-2, and take the crown.
Thanks to his performance, Shaw was rewarded by moving up two spots in the FloWrestling.com rankings at heavyweight, putting him at No. 8.
“I knew we had some tough guys in the weight class coming in,” Shaw said. “I took it one match at a time. Had three pretty close matches in a row but we stuck to the game plan.”
Junior Nick Montgomery also had an outstanding showing at 149 pounds, tearing through his competition, which included two major decisions, as well as a 17-0 technical fall in the opening bout against Sean Caruso. Montgomery, however, fell in the championship round to TJ Miller of UVA, 5-2, placing second.
Sam Wheeler, who was seeded second at 197 pounds and scored a major decision in his opening round, found a bit more resistance, but overcame challenges by Edgar Ruano and Dom Carfagno. Ultimately, he finished third after falling to Pat Sprenkle of Lock Haven and his consolation opponent, Garrett Linebringer of Notre Dame College, forfeited.
As one of three CSU grapplers who competed as unattached for this event, Nick Corba scored major decisions in his opening matches at 184 pounds. But the junior was relegated to the consolation round when Lock Haven’s TJ Sponseller eked out a 4-3 win in the semi-finals. Corba recovered and pulled out a 6-5 win against Corey Hazel of Lock Hazen to place third.
Gabe Stark had a tougher road to travel at 174 pounds, when he dropped his second-round match-up against Army’s Ben Harvey. The junior bounced back by winning five in a row, including a pair of pins. In the third-place match, though, he faced Harvey again, and the Cadet bested Stark once more, resulting in a fourth-place finish.
Sophomore Mike Konstandaras opened the tourney on fire, scoring a 3-2 upset on third-seeded Korbin Myers and a pin on Brett Himes. But an 8-1 decision at the hands of Notre Dame’s Jacob Goodwin sent him down to the consolation round. He took three matches in that bracket, including a fall on Austin McDermitt, before suffering a major decision loss against Brandon James to wind up fifth.
The Vikings will be back in action this Sunday, when they open up the home schedule at Woodling Gym with a match against cross-town foe John Carroll, a rivalry that began in 1964 and was won handily by Cleveland State last season, 39-3.
Mason Picked Up By the D-League
There has been some speculation as to where former Cleveland State basketball player Marlin Mason would play after graduation. After all, in addition to the transfers of the already-graduated Anton Grady and Trey Lewis, Charlie Lee has already found a home abroad in Norway, playing for the Tromso Storm.
An earlier report had Argentinian club Regates Corrientes showing interest in the 6-6 forward. However, nothing really came to fruition.
Now, it appears that Mason may have a chance to play professionally at home. The NBA Developmental League held its annual draft, and Mason was selected in the fifth round by the Delaware 87ers, the affiliate team of the Philadelphia 76ers.
With his selection, Mason joins eight other former Vikings in being picked by a D-League team. And that list contains a few surprises.
The first Cleveland State player to be selected in the D-League draft was Derrick Ziegler. After finishing his college career in 1997, Ziegler was snapped up in the fifth round by the Roanoke Dazzle five years later, in 2002.
In 2003, the Columbus Riverdragons came calling for another Viking, this time selecting forward Tahric Gosley in the ninth round. The biggest head-scratcher was the drafting of Walt Waters in the fourth round by the Austin Spurs in 2006. Waters had only spent the 2003-04 season with CSU, was declared academically ineligible and basically fell off the planet prior to the selection.
A pair of former Vikings appeared on the board during the 2008 draft, when 2007 grads Raheem Moss and Carlos English were selected in the seventh and 10th rounds, respectively. English would eventually make the Dakota Wizards squad before spending two season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
J’Nathan Bullock also was drafted by a D-League team after his stint with the New York Jets, going to the New Mexico Thunderbirds in the sixth round. Bullock was subsequently waived and has played internationally since, with a short stay with the Maine Red Claws during training camp.
2012 saw the last former CSU players selected prior to Mason, with D’Aundray Brown as the Canton Charge’s first-round pick and Trevon Harmon going in the seventh round to the Bakersfield Jam. While Harmon was waived, Brown played 24 games and three playoff contests with the Charge during the 2012-13 season.
Considering there is no guarantee of a roster spot, let alone playing time, for Mason, at the very least the selection by the 87ers will give him an opportunity to be looked at by other teams, both in the U.S. and abroad.