CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State University wrestling team will compete for conference championships this weekend as the team heads to the Eastern Wrestling League Championships.
The EWL meet is taking place Saturday, March 9, at George Mason's EagleBank Arena. The opening session begins at 10:00 a.m. while placement matches will begin at 6:15 p.m. Live video will be available through FloWrestling ($) while live results will be available through FloArena.
The champion of each weight class will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh later this month. The EWL also secured four additional automatic qualifying spots based on its athletes' regular-season performances, which will be earned at Saturday's Championships. The EWL owns three automatic bids total at 165 pounds and two automatic spots at 133 pounds and 285 pounds each.
Redshirt senior Armando Torres led the Vikings in wins in the regular season with 27 and will feature at 133 pounds for the EWL Championships. He also topped the squad with 14 bonus-point wins and notched a trio of victories in EWL dual bouts.
Like Torres, redshirt sophomore Nico O'Dor also notched 20+ wins in his first season in a CSU singlet. All of his victories came at 157 pounds, including four matches that he won that went past seven minutes of regulation time.
Torres and O'Dor are two of the eight Vikings that are likely to be competing at the EWL Championships for the first time in their career this weekend.
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Ford and junior Collin Kelly are the only two Vikings expected to compete this weekend that have EWL Championship experience. Ford, who competed at 149 pounds last year but is expected to compete at 165 this weekend, owns a 13-7 record on the campaign. Kelly will feature at heavyweight in this event for the second straight year after winning 10 matches in the regular season.
Redshirt sophomore Cameron Lathem (125), senior Sam Matzek (141), redshirt freshman Brady Barnett (149), redshirt sophomore Colton Carroll (174), junior Chris Morrow (184) and true freshman Ben Smith (197) are all expected to compete at a collegiate conference tournament for the first time this weekend.
Barnett and Smith have 17 wins each in their first season competing in a Viking singlet. Barnett tallied a 3-2 mark in EWL duals this season while Smith grabbed a pair of conference dual victories.
Senior Evan Cheek is the reigning 141-pound EWL champion and also won EWL Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships last season. There will be new winners of both of those crowns this weekend as Cheek is redshirting this season. Sophomore Georgio Poullas, who placed at EWL's as a true freshman last season at 165 pounds, is also redshirting this season.
Any Vikings that qualify for the NCAA Championships would continue their season at the event March 21 in Pittsburgh.