CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Mount St. Joseph University wrestling team is looking to build off a successful campaign last season and continue the rebirth of the Mount's wrestling program.
Last season as many know now Sophomore Antonio McCloud (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Elder) finished the season ranked 8th nationally and received All-American status in just his first year of college competition. This season McCloud is currently ranked 5th by InterMat wrestling in the 197-pound weight class. As the Lions continue the rebirth of the wrestling program they are seeking success similar to Antonio but from other wrestlers. Coach Charles Mason seems confident that his guys can get it done, "Last year we only got one wrestler to nationals, but this year I really believe we will have more. I can't think of a certain number but we are very talented and I guarantee that we raise our traveling party to Iowa this year."
Last season The Mount had a freshman class of nearly 20 wrestlers headlined by McCloud and Cameron Sauerwein (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) that helped to the give rebirth of the MSJ wrestling program legitimacy. This season Coach Mason and his team of coaches added another nearly 20 freshman. This incoming class will give the Lions lineup some depth, and lead to more competition in the wrestling room. The new faces on the team include Jabari Thomas (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield), Tariq Hornbuckle (Phoeniz, Ari./Desert Vista), and Austin Belcher (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder). The biggest addition though comes in the form of transfer Cornell Beachem (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods). Cornell will add as coach Mason calls it it a fiery presence to the team. Beachem transfered from Notre Dame College, to play football and wrestle at The Mount. On the football field he has been a standout for the Lions, but Coach Mason beleives he can have a much greater impact on the mat. "Cornell can take his previous experience and what he has learned and share that with our young and hungry team. Cornell has the potential to win a lot of matches right away. If he stays healthy and focused Cornell Beachem can be on that big stage come March" Said Coach Mason.
Coach Mason is also excited to see the growth and progression of our young wrestling team and that any of them could make a late season run based on the talent that surrounds them everyday on the mats. With the depth that has been added to the team, comes tough lineup decisions. Unlike last season the Mount's wrestling program isn't being forced to start freshman, and wrestle-offs will be a lot more common. With that in mind Coach Mason added, "Competition drives greatness. Anytime you are able to put talent on top of talent in certain weight classes, the outcome is going to be greater. Everything is earned out there on the mat. I wont be making a lot of decisions on who starts, the guys will be making that decision with their effort and hard work."
The Lions lone upperclassmen this season will again be Nate McClanahan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) who will bring leadership to the team. McClanahan has grown a ton on the mat during his career, and is a true grinder for Coach Mason.
Your Mount St. Joseph Lions open up their season this weekend when they travel down to Williamsburg, Kentucky to compete at the University of Cumberlands in the Patriot Open. This season the Lions have 4 home matches the first on 12/15 in the Harrington Center where they will face Lindsay Wilson, Midway, and Ancilla, tune into MSJsports.com for all of your Lions coverage this season.