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November 21, 2013

Despite early struggles, team looks to rely on their returning wrestlers to lead the way

By Brendan Samsa

On Sunday Nov 17, the Cleveland State University Men’s Wrestling team competed in a tri-meet matchup against Indiana and Duke. Falling to Duke in a close match 19-16 and losing a tough one to Indiana 25-10, the Viking men fought hard with some big wins from sophomores Daniel King, Riley Shaw, and Michael Carlone. King went 2-0 on the day improving his record to 7-2 on the young season, while Shaw and Carlone both picked up a win as well.

Despite the losses this past weekend the team is looking good as they have 13 returning wrestlers on the 24 man roster. With nine of those returning being sophomores, Cleveland State has a great opportunity to not only compete at a high level this season, but also to build a powerhouse wrestling program in the coming years.

Head coach Ben Stehura, now in his sixth season as the Vikings head coach, thinks that depth can be a major asset this season.

“This is one of our better recruiting classes as a whole since I’ve been here,” said Stehura. “We’re starting off at a higher level with the ability level of the guys. With 13 guys returning that will help accelerate the progression of the younger guys as well.”

After spending five seasons as the first head coach of Limestone College, a division two school in Gaffney, South Carolina before coming to Cleveland State, Stehura is no stranger to building young talent.

Since coming to Cleveland State Stehura has picked up right where he left off down south, putting together the building blocks for a winning culture for years to come.

Of the 24 wrestlers on the team this season Corbin Boone is the only returning senior. Boone says being the only senior his experience is a major asset for him on the mats as well as mentoring the young incoming wrestlers.

“A lot of guys who have come in this year have kind of looked up to me as well as some of the other guys who have been around for a while,” said Boone.

As a team one goal seems to be in the teams sights, to win the EWL championship this season. Preaching it every day after practice the Viking men seem to be confident they will make that goal a reality.

“EWL champions, we figure if you say it enough and start to believe it by training hard, you’ll get there,” said Boone. “That’s the only way you’re going to get there is if you train to be a champion.”

The team will travel to Annapolis, Maryland to compete in the Navy Classic on Saturday Nov, 23.