Wrestlers qualify at Rome Open

Wrestlers qualify at Rome Open

Story by Chris Duderstadt

This article was originally published prior to June 2, 2013. Due to a change in the content management systems, the initial publication date in not available. 

The Baker University wrestling team qualified five more wrestlers for the NAIA National Tournament and had five weight class champions at the Rome Open Saturday in Rome, Ga.

The team has qualified 20 wrestlers for the national tournament in the first two weeks of the season, after only qualifying 10 wrestlers last year in its inaugural season.

“Our program is a year older and we’ve had some good recruits that have come in this year,” head coach Jimmy May said. “I felt like we had the potential to qualify more people for nationals this year than the first year.”

Sophomores Alan Callahan, Jakob Price, Cody Hanel, Joe Pace and Travis Shadrach were the five wrestlers on the team to qualify for the national tournament.

Although there have been 20 Wildcats to qualify for the national tournament, the team will only be able to take 12 wrestlers to the tournament.

So, each of them will have to prove to May that they are worthy of competing.

May still believes there are a number of wrestlers that have the potential to qualify for the national tournament because there have been people that have either been close to qualifying or who have underperformed so far this season.

The weight class champions for the Wildcats were sophomore Jarell Price, 149 pounds; sophomore Nathan Sommer, 157 pounds; sophomore Parker Owen, 174 pounds; wrestling unattached Robert Shadrach, 184 pounds; and sophomore Brandon Gebhardt, 197 pounds.

Fourteen other Wildcats also placed in the tournament, which means they finished in the top six of their respective weight class.

“I think everyone in the first round was a little shaky, but after the first round we all really picked it up a lot,” Jarell Price said.

This was the first tournament of the season that Baker has traveled to after hosting a dual with Calumet College and the Dan Harris Open on Nov. 6 and 7.

The Wildcats left for the tournament on Nov. 11 and stayed in Nashville, Tenn., that night before arriving in Rome at 1 p.m. Friday. It was a 13-hour trip for the team before finally arriving in Rome.

“We were really, really lethargic and sluggish in the first round,” junior Dylan Berg said. “I know I was. The first round I (lost by a technical fall to) a guy that I ended up meeting later in the tournament in the back end of the bracket and beating the second time I wrestled him.”

The next trip for Baker will not be nearly as long as the 13-hour round trip to Rome.

BU will compete at the Kaufman/Brand Open at 9 a.m. Saturday in Omaha, Neb.

“That is a very tough tournament,” May said. “We are going to try to get some guys to place, but it is mostly a tournament with (NCAA) Division I and Division II teams. It’s the toughest tournament we’ll go to.”