Indoor athletics, wrestling, swimming and diving hit top results over the weekend – The Observer

This past weekend, the Case Western Reserve University track and field team took part in their first meeting of the year at the Otterbein Invitational in Westerville, Ohio, achieving some incredible finishes in their third meeting of the season.

Third-year Jack Begley was the star player, setting a university record in the 3,000 meters after completing the distance in 8:30:57, taking sixth place. The previous record was set in 2018 by former athlete Sam Merriman (8:33.13).

In addition, the Spartans took first place in six different events. Fourth-year Juan Perez owned two and took the 60-meter dash in 7.01 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 23.29 seconds. Fourth-year Logan Singer won the 800m sprint in 1:58.85, while sophomore Yusuf Shaaban took first place in the high jump (1.89m). In the women’s race, fourth-year Julia Kocherzat won the 5,000-meter run (19:07.39), while sophomore Jessica Kwasny finished first in the 800-meter run (2:23.02).

There were three second places for the men’s team. Freshman Nicolas Lende took second place in the 400-meter dash (52.69), sophomore Jack Wragan in the pole vault (4.00 metres) and the quartet of Shaaban, Singer, third-year Ben Pinkowski and fourth-year Bryden Moxley in the 4×400 meter relay (3:38.20). Pinkowski also took third place and took the position in the triple jump with a mark of 12.81 meters. Third-year Peculiar Nzegbuna also took third in the 60m hurdles (8.87) and third-year Liam O’Reilly, who also finished third in the 5,000m course (16:41.73).

For the women’s team, sophomore Grace Jackson was the only runner-up, completing the 800 meters in 2:25.51. The women’s team also took five third-place finishes: sophomore Elise Moore in the 400m (1:02.83), sophomore Emily Hopkins in the triple jump (10.57m), sophomore Mia Vargo in the high jump (1.59m), sophomore Victoria Zhou for the pole vault (3.00 meters) and Moore’s team, third-year Mia Kilroy, sophomore Anna Zinsser and third-year Melissa Phung in the 4×400-meter relay (4:21.84).

The Spartans will compete in Berea, Ohio on January 29 to participate in the Dr. Taraschke Team Challenge, hosted by Baldwin Wallace University.


The men’s wrestling team set a winning 2-1 record at the Dr. Si Ostrach Duals, organized at the Adelbert Gymnasium. The Spartans fell to Baldwin Wallace University (18-32) before beating Waynesburg University (38-14) and Defiance College (28-27) to close out the game. The meeting was held in honor of the late Dr. Si Ostrach, former CWRU Wilbert Austin Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Engineering and former director of the National Center for Space Exploration Research, which was recognized by NASA as one of the 12 Super Stars of Modern Aeronautics. Outside of the lab, Dr. Ostrach served as a faculty advisor to the wrestling team and was a highly respected NCAA wrestling umpire, serving for 35 years during his lifetime.

In the first game of the day, freshman Aidan Gassel (12-1 big decision, 184 lbs), fourth-year Grant Robinson (3-2, 285 lbs), fourth-year Brandon Callow (forfeiture gain) and third-year Mitchell Arch (15 -0.149 lbs) won their respective matches, but it wasn’t enough to take the win.

For the second match, Callow took a pin at 2:23 in the 141lb match, while Gassel earned the pin at 4:32 in the 197lb match to take the win over Waynesburg. Freshman Calvin Cai and fourth-year Thomas Gallagher took victories in the 157-pound and 174-pound contests respectively, while fourth-year Patrick Hebreard and Manhattan Gatton took forfeiture victories.

The final game of the day was neck-and-neck, coming down to Gassel’s pin in the 184lb game against Defiance. At that point, the Spartans were down 22-24, but Gassel’s timed pin at 4:21 put CWRU at 28-24. Arch earned a pin in the 149 pound game at 6:02 am. Gallagher got the pin at 5:23 in the 174 lb contest. Cai took a key decision win of 12-2 in the 157lb category. Hebreard won by forfeit.

Callow, Jack Chipps, Gallagher, Gatton, Hebreard and Robinson were honored for the “Senior Day” ceremony ahead of Saturday’s events. During their college careers at CWRU, the six athletes have won 13 doubles since the 2018-19 season and helped the team to rank among the top 11 Division III teams in GPA twice on two occasions.

The Spartans, who hold an even 3-3 record, will continue their season on the road in Wheaton, Illinois, where they will participate in the Pete Willson Invitational hosted by Wheaton College from January 28-29.

Swimming & Diving

Both the men’s and women’s teams split the weekend meetings against Ohio Northern University and Kenyon University. The men defeated Ohio Northern by a whopping 220-75, but fell to Kenyon 226-73. The women’s team also beat Ohio Northern 238-58 and lost to Kenyon’s top-ranked team 216-84.

For the diving events, freshman Abigail Wilkov put on an impressive performance, winning both diving events. She achieved winning scores of 247.00 and 244.50 in the one meter and three meter dives respectively. In the men’s field, freshman Trevor Elliot was the team’s top performer in both events, finishing fifth in both the one-meter dive (221.6) and the three-meter dive (194.35).

Freshman Peter Meng was the only other athlete to take first place in the competition and win the 400 IM (4:02.10). Meng also placed a team-best second in the 1,000-meter freestyle with a time of 9:31.76. Freshman Kate Menzer came in second in the 100m breaststroke (1:08.24), the 100m fly (59.19) and as part of the 200m free relay with freshmen Gabriella Chambers, Nara Lee and Simone Vale (1:39.66). In addition to Vale, first-years Caroline Schlessman and Chambers, Menzer also took third place in the 200-meter medley relay.

Vale also placed third in the 100-meter backstroke (59.86) and sixth in the 100-meter freestyle (54.86). Third-year Johanna Pearson took third place in the 1,000-meter freestyle (11:07.39) and the 500-meter freestyle (5:23.50). Sophomore Abby Halsdorfer also took third in the 200m flying (2:13.29), while freshman Elishka Bailey took second in the 200m backstroke (2:08.30).

In the men’s race, sophomore Ethan Chuang finished second in the 100-meter breaststroke (57.67) and third in the 200-meter backstroke (1:58.33). Chuang, fourth-year Ryan Gilbert, freshman Jackson Pollard and sophomore Campbell Patterson also took third place in the 200-meter medley relay (1:35.99).

Third-year Xander Guerrero took two third places after completing the 200-meter freestyle in 1:44.95 and the 500-meter freestyle in 4:48.97. Fourth-year Clavin Tecson also finished third in the 50-meter freestyle (21.91), while third-year Connor Chignell was third in the 200-meter backstroke (1:58.33) and fourth in the 100-meter backstroke (54.11).

The teams will host the final double meet of the season on January 29 at the Veale Natatorium and host Baldwin Wallace University. Before the events begin, CWRU will celebrate the graduating team members with the “Senior Day” ceremony.

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