JAKE CHRISMAN ‘20 | STAFF WRITER • The Little Giants wrestling team opened the 2017-2018 season this past weekend at the Adrian Invitational at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan. In an impressive performance, the nationally ranked Little Giants placed 27 wrestlers in the top eight, with five taking home first place, Kaleb Guzior ’21, Jared Timberman ’21, Kyle Hatch ’21, Darden Schurg ’19, and Hunter Bates ’20. The Little Giants also captured first place as a team with 200 team points, 84.5 points higher than Heidelberg University, the second place team. “We have been working hard in the wrestling room and it clicked on Saturday,” Hatch said. “We have to keep improving though because we are not at our peak yet.” Guzior was able to cruise his way to 3-0 and a first place finish on the day. After a bye in the first round, Guzior pinned Alex Reyes of John Carroll University in the first period. Guzior also won by a first period fall in his second match over Charles Smith of Mott Community College. In the title match, Guzior wrestled against his own teammate Sunny Nier ’21. Guzior won 10-4, taking first for the day while Nier took second.
Timberman and Hatch had impressive performances in their first tournament as Little Giants, both going 5-0 on the day. “After taking a year off from wrestling I was a little nervous for my first match, but it felt great to back on the mat competing,” Timberman said. “I am really excited to be able to wrestle for the Wabash wrestling program and to see where it takes me.” Timberman won his first match against Noah Nieman by pin. He carried this momentum the rest of the day with a 7-2 win over Richarch Bogetich from Heidelberg, a pin over Lawrence Schrott of Washington and Jefferson College, an exciting 13-12 win over teammate Austin Bethel ’21, and a pin over Troy Wilson of Lourdes University in the finals.
Hatch dominated the 157 pound weight class with a 37 second pin in his first match over Ethan Garcia of Adrian, a 19-1 technical fall over
Austin Rayburn of Heidelberg, a 19-3 technical fall over John Carroll’s Daniel Novak, a pin over Dylan Steward of Adrian, and a finals pin over Austin Victor of John Carroll. “I felt good being on the mat again and getting to compete,” Hatch said. “It has been a couple months since I last competed and there is still some stuff that I need to work on.”
Schurg, a returning national qualifier for the Little Giants, took first, going 3-0 on the day. Schurg won with an impressive 18-3 technical fall over Dominic Farabaugh. He carried this momentum into his final two matches where he beat John Carroll’s Tom McNulty 12-8 in the semi-finals and Blake Dixon of John Carroll 9-1 in the finals.
The final champion of the day for the Little Giants was Bates. Bates finished the day 4-0 to finish on top. Bates won a hard fought match Christian Hipsher of John Carroll by a score of 3-1. In his second match, he pinned Heidelberg’s Spencer Gail. In the semi-finals, Bates faced his teammate Frank Russel ’20 and won by technical fall 18-0. Russel finished sixth on the day. Bates won another close 3-1 match over Heidelberg’s Patrick Brown to finish first.
The Little Giants return to action in a week when they travel to Mequon, Wisconsin to participate in the Concordia University Open Tournament. “We are a very young team, but we have some pretty good older guys that are pushing us,” Timberman said. “With the quality of wrestlers that came in as freshman and the great guys that returned from last year we are going to be a good team.” Wrestling begins at 9 a.m.