WILLIAMSBURG, Kentucky - The Mount St. Joseph University wrestling program has had a meteoric rise over the past year and a half. That rise may have began its culmination process this past weekend in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Last season The Mount routinely traveled with three or four wrestlers, and never really competed at a high level. That has all changed this season, after an outstanding recruiting season. The Lions traveled to the Patriot open with a renewed confidence, despite taking only one sophomore and 12 freshman to compete against NAIA and Division II competition.
The Lions had quite a few high level recruits commit to be a part of the Rebirth of the MSJ wrestling program. None with a better high school resume' than Antonio McCloud (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) who came to The Mount after a 220 lb Ohio State Championship a season ago. McCloud got his collegiate career of to an outstanding start this weekend. He went 5-0 on the day, including defeating two of the top-10 NAIA wrestlers in the country. In the semi-finals he would face the no. 4 ranked 197 pounder in the country Eric Deluse from the University of the Cumberlands, defeating him 6-4. In the finals he faced off with the man ranked no. 9 in NAIA, Luis Peguero of Southeastern University. McCloud defeated him 6-3 to claim the championship, his first of what the Lions hope to be many this season.
Other Lions who placed included Cameron Sauerwein (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) who went 5-1 in the heavyweight division. Sauerwein lost his opening match in a tight 5-4 finish vs Aaron Johnson of the University of the Cumberlands. Then proceeded to rattle off five consecutive wins battling all the way back to finish in third place. Dylan Waugh (Mason, Ohio/Mason) finished in fourth place at 133 pounds, with a 4-2 record. Jake Gentry (Ross, Ohio/Ross) and Nate McClanahan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) each finished in sixth place, each posting a 4-2 record on the day.
"We began to build our name in this tournament" said head coach Charles Mason. He went on to say, "At the beginning of the day people were not really paying attention to us. By the end of the day every one in the building was watching the MSJ wrestling team."
The Lions will head back to the mat this weekend, this time against Division III opponents. They will head to Angola, Indiana for the Trine Invitational.