Club wrestling takes on nationals

John Campbell, Sports Editor

The Wildcat Wrestling club completed their season at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) National Tournament held from March 9-11 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.   

The Cats finished the tournament in 17th place and walked away with the “Academic School of the Year Award,” based on the cumulative grade point average (3.4) of the top eight tournament qualifiers.  

“It means a lot to be able to represent our small school on a big stage,” Co-Captain Dylan Zoucha said. “I am indebted to Wayne State and how it has shaped me as an athlete and a student. So, to be able to represent myself as a product of Wayne State is special.” 

The Wildcats qualified all 14 of their wrestlers for the NCWA Tournament. Of those wrestlers, Gavin Zoucha, the 165lb freshman from Malcom, prevailed for the Wildcats.  

Zoucha wrestled in six matches to make it into round 12, where he ended his tournament run with four wins and two losses.  

“He did make it deep into the tournament,” Dylan Zoucha, Gavin’s brother, said. “He came up one win short of a medal and the NWCA is no joke. Gavin put a ton of effort into his training and diet this season.” 

Behind Zoucha, followed two wrestlers who collected three wins and two losses, freshman Chase Eggleston (157) and sophomore Chance Sjulin (169).  

Three wildcats finished the national tournament with two wins, Clayton Harris (149), Dylan Zoucha (174) and Isaac Voboril (174). Adding to the team points were five wrestlers; Colby Puck (141), Landon Templar (149), Mohamed Siidow (157), Dakota Spann (184) and Tyler Dawe (235).  

“We are still a young team, but these men put in the work,” Co-captain Clayton Harris said.

The 14 wrestlers finished the tournament with a total record of 21 wins to 24 losses for a total of 39 points, making this year the best national appearance since 2015 and the second all-time performance since the club became reinstated in 2008.  

Coach Vander Weil described this year’s tournament as “one of the most competitive NCWA National tournaments in years.” 

“This young team has a very bright future in college wrestling,” Coach Vander Weil said. 

 With such a successful season, the Wildcat wrestling club feels excited for the future. “We get better recruits each year, so we are going to keep adding to our list of successful wrestlers,” Zoucha said.