CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State University wrestling team closes the regular season this weekend when it welcomes two teams to campus Saturday, Feb. 18, for a tri-dual.
Gardner-Webb and Northern Illinois are both traveling to CSU, and the teams will contest a trio of duals. The first dual will get underway at 11:00 a.m. with each successive dual following almost immediately after the one preceding it.
The Vikings are coming off the final weekend of Eastern Wrestling League action that saw the squad drop duals to nationally ranked Edinboro and Clarion.
Evan Cheek continued his strong sophomore season for the Vikings last weekend, posting a pair of victories. Cheek now owns a team-leading 22 wins. Although both of his wins last week came via decision, he remains 11-0 on the season in matches ending in technical falls and falls.
Redshirt junior Nick Corba enters the weekend one win shy of 20 for the season as he sports a 19-7 record. Corba owns 13 bouns-point victories on the season.
Corba sat in the 24th position in the first RPI rankings released by the NCAA. However, senior Nick Montgomery had the highest RPI of any Viking in that ranking, coming in 15th at 149 pounds. Montgomery has faced 11 athletes this season that were ranked in the first RPI release, including the top-ranked athlete at 149 pounds. Montgomery is tied for the team lead with six pins this season.
Cleveland State is 3-1 all-time against Gardner-Webb with all of the meetings occurring in the past seven seasons. Two of the Vikings' wins have come in neutral venues while CSU won at home in the 2012-13 season.
The Vikings have yet to defeat the Huskies in five tries with the most recent meeting coming on the road in the 2013-14 season.
Redshirt senior RJ LaBeef and Montgomery own dual wins over GWU in their careers while Corba has a dual win over NIU in his career.
Gardner-Webb enters Cleveland with a 7-9 dual record and went 3-4 in the Southern Conference. The Runnin' Bulldogs easily swept a tri-dual at Davidson last Sunday in which they also picked up a win over Ohio. When it was matched up with No. 18 Appalachian State in late January, Gardner-Webb took the team score lead into the final bout but ended up dropping a two-point decision. Five GWU wrestlers have at least 19 wins on the season, led by Ryan Mosley's 21 victories at 157 pounds. Hunter Gamble is 20-4 on the season at 184 pounds and owns a team-leading 14 dual wins.
Northern Illinois owns a 6-8 dual mark on the season and finished 2-6 in the Mid-American Conference. Four of the Huskies' setbacks have come to teams ranked among the top 15 nationally, including a tight, 23-17, loss to Northern Iowa, the MAC regular-season champion. NIU is led by redshirt sophomore Steve Bleise and redshirt senior Shawn Scott. Bleise is 21-6 at 149 pounds this season and owns a 10-2 mark in dual action. Scott is 18-5 at 197 pounds in 2016-17 and is 12-3 in dual matches. Both are ranked among the top 10 at their respective weight class in Intermat's latest rankings.
Cleveland State will resume action when it contests the EWL Championships at Bloomsburg Saturday, March 4.