Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February 19, 2016


PIN FOR THE WIN Josh Juarez expertly holds down his opponent

Spartans Record Top-Five Finish at MidStates Conference Wrestling Championship 

Kody Smith

Led by the efforts of senior Kalib Jackson, junior Alan Mock and sophomore Chase Wilson, the Manchester University wrestling team concluded the 2016 MidStates Conference Championship in Ohio, finishing in fifth place with a team score of 76. The event, which took place on Saturday, Feb. 13, saw these three Spartan student-athletes finish in the top three of their respective weight classes.

Jackson, who competed in the 133-pound bracket, saw a first-place finish in his weight class, securing a 9-3 victory over Wabash College’s Allen Betts, a 7-5 overtime win against Trine’s Caleb Maddox and a 4-1 decision over Austin Eldred from Adrian College of Michigan in the final round. Jackson has now reached the double-digit-win plateau for the third time in his collegiate wrestling career as a member of the Black and Gold.

141-pounder Chase Wilson completed a second-place finish while representing the Spartans in Ohio on Saturday, which included a 23-point outburst in the semifinal round. He was unable to get the best of Wabash College’s Michael Venezia, who scored the technical victory over Wilson. 133-pounder Alan Mock rounded out the top three finishes for the Spartans, picking up a fall and two decisions during his quarterfinal matchup with Wabash College’s Robbie Carter, claiming a consolation championship. Mock finished third overall in his weight division.

Another individual who was pivotal in the success of the Spartans in the MidStates Conference Championship was senior Josh Juarez. Juarez competed at the 149-pound division, securing a fourth-place finish. The senior wrestler strived to improve through the season. “My goals at the beginning of the season have always been the same since my first year on the team,” Juarez said. “I wanted to be a national qualifier or even better, and that has started with working on my mentality.”

Sophomore Blake Denton, who sustained an injury during the early-goings of the season, was unable to compete this Saturday. However, while being sidelined, he has been quite impressed with the efforts of his team as the season progressed. “There was a lot of improvement from when Coach Lake first began to now,” Denton stated. “We have become more disciplined as the season progressed, especially with our great day as a team when we visited Trine. It’s a great momentum builder for regionals, which is right around the corner.” Denton has been rehabbing hard since going down with an injury, but hopes to work his way into the starting lineup for the regionals as a 125-pounder.

Head Coach Kevin Lake’s wrestling squad is preparing for the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional Championships, which takes place on Saturday, Feb. 27, in Crawfordsville, IN. Lake, who is in his first season at the helm of the Spartans’ wrestling team, has garnered respect and admiration from his wrestlers, including Juarez. “Lake was great because he did not want to disrupt our style,” Juarez said. “He only wanted to implement more technique that would help us in the future. Lake is a great coach, and I am glad I was led by him in my final season.”