AU wrestling brings in fresh athletes for new season

The Eagles have brought in 11 new athletes for the 2022-2023 class

Olivia Pliske, Reporter

Ashland wrestling is back and better than ever to hopefully bring on another year of wins after taking home the Great Midwest Athletic Conference title in back-to-back seasons.

This season the Eagles have added 11 new athletes to their roster, and the team has high hopes that they will all have an impact from day one. 

This year they are bringing in Luke Acuna (133), Thomas Cassetty (133/141), Gage Gibson (285), Zander Graham (149), Grady Kline (174/184), Ricky Legg (184/197), Jeremiah McKee (141), Mason Mustain (285), Evan Sevastos (285), Rian Spangler (149), and Jake Sundberg  (157).

With a variety of athletes in all sorts of weight classes, the Eagles will have fresh bodies in each crevice of the team.

While the team continues to grow, Head Coach Colton Sponseller says he is looking forward to seeing a solid connection between the freshman and upperclassmen.

“This year we are a mix between having an older team but we have a ton of young guys,” said Sponseller. “I am excited to see how the veterans help guide the younger men and am excited to see some of our younger student-athletes break through their shells and become leaders”. 

The Eagles will have four returning NCAA qualifiers, two NCAA All-Americans, and seven starters return to their lineup this season. While the season will be long, the team is eager to start and become one of the best wrestling teams in Division II.

“My hope is that we compete the way we want to,” said Sponseller. “ We stress the idea, what you put in is what you get out.”

Sophomore Jayden Morr has been vocal about how strong he thinks the team can be this year.

“The expectations are very high this year. We want to train and compete at the highest level and continue to get better,” said Morr. “We want to get as many guys possible to the national tournament and make a run as a team.”

The team has focused on putting immense effort into their practices in order to get the best possible results during matches.

“We also stress a mentality of focused consistent effort in everything you do,” said Sponseller. “ If we act in that manner, we can accomplish our goals of being one of the best wrestling teams in the country and placing individuals on the podium at the NCAA Championships come March.”

The Eagles’ first match will be on Nov. 6, in Glenville, West Virginia, where they will take on the Glenville State Pioneers.