The National Wrestling Coaches Association announced this Tuesday that the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays are now ranked 21 in Division III. Key wins over ranked opponents, No. 25 Centenary and No. 26 Stevens Tech, were crucial to achieving this accomplishment. Junior Tye Boyer has also broken into the national rankings as he is seventh in the 149 lb. class.
Over winter break, Etown defeated New York University, Plymouth State University and Gettysburg College at the NYU Quad meet Jan. 14. Then, on Jan. 18, Etown used the strength of five major decision victories to defeat Stevens Tech 23-18, making the team’s current record 8-4.
Head Coach Eric Walker explained the keys of success that the team is currently using and the importance of those keys. The one word that Walker also used is “chemistry.” He emphasized, “From last year’s team to this year’s team the chemistry did a 360.” The reason why the team saw such a big change is because there was more teamwork overall this year than last year. The importance of chemistry for a team can make a difference when it is that last match and everybody on the team is up cheering. That enthusiasm can determine a win.
At the NYU Quad meet, four of Etown’s wrestlers went undefeated for all three matches: senior Will Bentley, sophomore Nick Grimm, Boyer and first-year Dylan Carmichael. Walker stated, “Throughout the whole match you can tell the chemistry of the team was there.”
The Blue Jays finished the day with a 33-12 victory over Plymouth State, a 26-12 win over NYU and a final win against the Gettysburg Bullets, 28-15.
Etown battled back and forth with the Stevens Ducks in their meet last week. With only two weight classes left, Stevens had a close 18-15 lead, but superior, clutch performances from Carmichael and senior Bill Meaney gave Etown the win.
Even though the Messiah match was not until Jan. 21, the team trained hard for this match for a considerable time. The team came back early from their winter break so they could get back in shape. Walker described these tough workouts as “cardio, cardio, cardio! Something they hate very much.” The reason they did so much running is because they put weight on at home over break and they have to meet their weight class prior to each match.
Although the results of the Messiah Open do not count toward Etown’s record, the Blue Jays still considered it to be an important match because the Falcons are a rival team. Walker’s intense winter workouts gave the team an extra boost for this match.
Sophomore Kyle McNulty finished third in the 125 lb. bracket, while first-year Jordan Moser, 157, and sophomore Michael Henning, 133, both reached the semi-finals for their brackets. During Moser’s run, he upset both the third and sixth seeds, who attend Messiah and Lycoming College, respectively.
If the wrestling team demonstrates their team workout and chemistry, the 8-4 record can most definitely turn into a 9-4 record. The team will head to Illinois this Friday to compete in the two-day Pete Willson Invitational at Wheaton College. There they will face off against several schools, including the Wheaton Thunder and Messiah.