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Wrestling competes in Harris open at Ashland

Posted on 11.20.2013

The University of Indianapolis wrestling team competed in its first competition of the season as a full team on Saturday, Nov.16, at the Simonson Open, claiming four championships.
Earning championships for the Greyhounds were junior Justin Kieffer at 141, senior Cameryn Brady at 149, senior Jeff Weiss at 165 and senior Evan Wooding at 285. Each of the four individuals went undefeated en route to their championship victories.
Also finishing high for the Greyhounds were redshirt senior Shelby Mappes with a runner-up finish at 174 and redshirt senior Alex Johns with a third place finish at 125. Redshirt senior George Lopez also placed third at 184, while junior Aaron Stevenson placed fourth in the same weight class. Freshman Barry McGinley wrapped up the top finishers for the Greyhounds, coming in fifth at 157.
On Nov. 9, the Greyhounds sent part of their squad to the Michigan State Open. According to Head Wrestling Coach Jason Warthan, the trip to Michigan State University for the Greyhounds was mostly for the freshmen and sophomores to continue getting better.
“The idea was for them to get as much experience as they could and introduce them to college wrestling,” Warthan said.
Prior to beginning their season, the Greyhounds opened up the year ranked No. 10 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II, due in large part, according to Warthan, to the experienced wrestlers the team has returning from last season.
UIndy has multiple returning wrestlers who finished as All-Americans or qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships last year.
“We have five guys with National [Championship] experience and three guys that placed at Nationals,” Warthan said. “That’s what the ranking’s about. They

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basically go off of who is back from last year’s National [Championship] Tournament.”
One of the wrestlers returning for the Greyhounds this season is Johns at 125. Johns finished last season with a fifth-place finish at the National Championships, along with a 30-5 record overall. Individually,  Johns opened up the 2013-14 season with a fourth-place national ranking in the 125 lb. weight class.
“It’s not a big deal. Last year, I was ranked No. 1 going into Nationals,” Johns said. “I try not to focus on that. I just try to work hard and get better every day. The goal is definitely to be on top of the podium at the end of the year.”
Warthan expressed similar feelings about Johns’ upcoming season.
“He [Johns] is excellent on his feet and defensively,” Warthan said. “I just think he needs to be confident in his offense, because he is so good on the mat.”
Other wrestlers that the Greyhound wrestling team will count on this season, who also began the season with individual national rankings, are Brady and Wooding. Brady opens the season ranked fourth at 149, while Wooding starts the season ranked seventh at 285.
Brady is another returning All-American Greyhound from last season. Brady finished in seventh place at the National Championships last season and had a 20-5 record overall. Wooding also qualified for the National Championships last season for the Greyhounds.
This year, Warthan said he is looking for leadership from multiple members on the team. Two members, in particular, will be expected to carry this role.
“Johns and Brady are experienced, and they lead by example,” Warthan said. “I think guys look at how they drill and how they work, and it reflects on the younger guys and even the ones with experience.”
Although the Greyhounds have returning National Championships qualifiers, Warthan said the team has “experience and talent beyond that.”
“We have some depth, and we have nine guys in separate weight classes that have beaten All-Americans,” Warthan said. “Top to bottom, it is realistic to shoot for a team trophy. But it is early, and that’s in March.”
The Greyhounds will be back on the road on Nov. 23 in Painesville, Ohio,  where they will compete at the Lake Erie Duals. UIndy’s first dual will start at 10 a.m. against the Alderson Broaddus University Battlers.

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