Senior wrestlers Quint Eno and Bill Meaney conquered their combatants at the Pete Willson Invitational last Friday and Saturday in Wheaton, Ill. Meaney claimed the individual title in the 197 lb. weight class, while Eno earned second place in the 165 lb. weight class. Combined, they recorded 42 of the Jays’ 61 team points. Overall, the squad finished in 13th place.
“Going into the championship match my mindset was just to wrestle my match,” Meaney said. “After getting into the finals it’s all just fun. This is what we train for and knowing the opportunity I had in front of me, I didn’t want to waste it.”
Meaney grappled for the title with Adam Latella from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Going into the match, he knew Latella was going to be a challenge. However, Meaney relied upon his preparation and style to dictate the match.
Meaney muscled past Latella to notch a 5-3 victory. “I came out of a scramble and got the take down to win the match,” Meaney said. “It’s always nice to get your hand raised.”
While he is thankful for his title, Meaney acknowledges that many individuals contributed to his success. “It’s always great to have an opportunity to do something special like that, but it was a team effort,” Meaney said. “I have a solid backing from my brother, coaches and teammates, which gives me a lot of confidence going into matches.”
In the 165 lb. weight class, Eno posted a strong performance. He dominated his first bout against Mathew Tuttle of Alma College 15-7. Eno punched his ticket to the title by edging Jeff Weiss of Indianapolis 4-3. However, Cedric Gibson from Wisconsin-Whitewater defeated Eno 5-2 in the championship match.
It was a long journey to the tournament for the Blue Jays. The team drove from Etown to Washington, D.C. last Thursday where they flew out of Reagan International Airport. Once they were back on solid ground, they drove the rest of the way to Wheaton, Ill.
According to Head Coach Eric Walker, the travel tested the concentration of the team. “I believe the older guys handled it a little better than the young guys,” Walker said. “We don’t typically travel that far, so the guys weren’t in their typical schedule, which may have thrown them off a little for the tournament.”
Meaney kept himself busy by talking to Walker about strategies for each match. “We also kept each other entertained as a team,” Meaney said. “We’re really close, which definitely helps keep your cool in a tournament.”
The Jays competed alongside other elite schools from around the nation. Some of those schools included the University of Mount Union, Ohio Northern University and Wisconsin-Whitewater. According to the National Division III wrestling coach’s poll, those schools are ranked 16th, 12th and 9th in the nation, respectively. “The tournament has some of the top wrestlers in the nation competing in it and gives us an experience we could only see at the national level,” Meaney said.
Such an elite caliber of competition will prepare the Blue Jays for their ultimate goal this season. “It was nice to win the tournament, but we have bigger and better goals to achieve,” Meaney said. “As a team we would like to win the Metropolitan Conference Tournament, which is being hosted at Elizabethtown.”