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Oct. 17, 2014

Two wrestlers nationally ranked as CSU wrestling season gets underway

By Kevin Liszka

Two meets into the season, the Cleveland State University wrestling team has held their own in the face of some stiff competition, with two of their own — senior Ben Willeford and junior Riley Shaw — making their names among the national ranks.

Wrestling at 125 pounds, Willeford is ranked No. 19 in the nation by the wrestling publication Intermat and No. 21 by the Associated Wrestling Press (AWP) in their most recent updates. Shaw, a heavyweight, wrestling at 285 pounds, is ranked No. 20 in his weight class by AWP.

“For us, rankings are what kind of help qualify you into the NCAA tournament,” Ben Stehura, head coach, said. “Getting into these media rankings help your visibility for the important ones, which are the coaches rankings at the end of the year.”

At Cleveland State’s most recent meet at Binghamton University Sunday, Nov. 9, Willeford followed up earning his sixth career tournament title the week before at Clarion University by winning four straight matches to wrestle his way into another finals appearance. He fell just short to Dalton Macri, a highly touted redshirt freshman from Cornell by a 8-6 decision good for second place on the weekend.

Shaw, also a winner at the Clarion Open Nov. 2, had a third place showing at the Binghamton Open. His day was highlighted with a 14-6 victory over Wrestling Report’s No. 27 ranked heavyweight Matt Tourdot, a redshirt sophomore from Old Dominon. For Shaw, the victory avenged a loss to Tourdot from last season.

Other standouts for the Vikings at Binghamton included junior Dan King, sophomore Latrell Davis and senior Matt Donohoe. Wrestling at 133 pounds, King won his first three matches — good for a finals appearance — before falling to Chase Zemenak of Bloomsberg University.

“He [King, whose record is 8-3 on the year] has actually lost three times all to the same guy,” Stehura said with a laugh. “The only guy he’s lost to is that kid from Bloomsberg, he’s pretty good. With the way the seeding worked they ended up meeting again in the finals this weekend. So he’s lost three times but they are all to the same guy.”

Davis, wrestling at 157 pounds, put up a 5-2 record on the day in his first action of the year. Donohoe, wrestling at 165 pounds, also posted a 5-2 record — with all five of his wins coming in a row — including a victory in his final match over Clarion Open winner Ryan Preisch, a freshman from Lehigh. Donohoe holds the team lead in victories with 10 on the year.

“The team is stepping it up as a whole,” Stehura said. “We only had two guys place the first weekend [Clarion] and had four guys in the top four this second weekend, so the guys are doing better every time they step out there. I’m pretty happy with our progress.”

Stehura said sophomore Nick Corba and junior Michael Carlone will each make their debuts next meet.
“He’s a guy to watch. He is looking really good right now,” Stehura said of Carlone who is coming back off shoulder surgery.

The Vikings continue their season at the Navy Classic Saturday, Nov. 22 at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.