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Dukes, Criss keep grapplers strong in the middle

Peter Cooke

Issue date: 12/4/09 Section: Sports
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Sophomore Isaac Dukes earned All-UAA honors and a trip to the national championships in his freshman season.
Sophomore Isaac Dukes earned All-UAA honors and a trip to the national championships in his freshman season.
[Click to enlarge]
With the wrestling season nearing the end of the first quarter of the season, the Spartans have been met with several trials and tribulations already. Case's mantra this season appears to be quality over quantity as the team has been plagued by their inability to contend to the lighter weight classes.

Despite graduating All-UAA and NCAA Championships qualifier Drew Gardella last year and fellow senior BJ Greenman, Case maintains a strong squad in the middle weight classes. Returning for the Spartans, however, is sophomore phenom Isaac Dukes who earned All-UAA Honors and an at-large invitation to the NCAA Championships last year. Case's other member last season's All-UAA squad is Clay Criss. Criss, the lone junior on the Spartan squad, has been an instrumental part of why the team is already 9-4 on the season.

With only three upper classmen on the squad, coach Bob Del Rosa is intent on getting the younger Spartans to be more aggressive on the mat. Sophomores Kyle Weaver and Cale Harter are two grapplers who are improving with every match. Weaver is off to a torrid start, going 8-4 on the season so far in the 157-pound weight class, picking up a pair of dual meet wins against Baldwin-Wallace and John Carroll. Harter, currently with a 6-4 record, is one of Case's two heavyweights in the 285-pound weight class.

Competing in the much-needed 125-pound weight class for the Spartans is senior Jonathon Stone. Stone, who hadn't wrestled before this season is playing an important role in the Spartans' lineup. Stone, with a 3-3 record on the year, has saved Case numerous points in dual meets, averting a forfeit which gives away six points.

The season has several bright spots for the team. With Dukes moving down a class to 145-pounds, he's on the inside track to a second All-UAA honor and an NCAA Championship invite. Meanwhile, it's up to the Spartans to keep their heads down and work for every point as the season progresses.

The Vitals

Last Year: 3rd Place in the UAA.

Wrestler to watch: Clay Criss, Jr, 165. Criss improved immensely last year and finished with a 15-14 record and All-UAA status. Criss's position in the lineup is crucial for the Spartans to grab an early lead in dual meets and he has a strong history of exceptional performances in tournaments.

Mark your calendar: Jan 22. vs. WashU. The first time the Spartans faced the Bears last year, they lost 76-40. The Bears went on to play for the national championship. This year's matchup should give fans an idea of where the Spartans are headed. If they keep the game close this year, two of the team's goals, winning half their conference games and making the playoffs, will appear to be within reach.

Prediction: 3rd place, UAA. While things are looking up for the Spartans, Carnegie Mellon and Chicago still out-match them in several weight classes.
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In This Issue

Cross Country

  • Women finish 15th in nation; Simpson has best finish in university history

News

  • A conversation with Christina Mastrangelo
  • CWRU students among thousands at SOA protest
  • CWRU's Great Lakes Energy Institute honored as "Center of Excellence"
  • Relay for Life 2010 kicks off with recruitment fair
  • Smart holiday spending tips
  • USG Minutes

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Reid Anderson

Sex and Dating

  • Are you tired?

Sports

  • All-American, UAA honorees back
  • Building starts on Mather Park
  • Dukes, Criss keep grapplers strong in the middle
  • For Spartans, Allegheny is splitsville
  • Revolving door is no good for the Browns
  • So far, it's been so good for women's basketball

Football

  • Early Ending: Spartans eliminated from playoffs by Trine University

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions

Worst Case Scenario

  • Reading days and salad days

Opinion

  • Column on smoking misinformed
  • Copenhagen summit may not be effective
  • Divisive politics dilute meaningful discourse
  • Editorial: Semester grades
  • Junior year abroad - wait, a whole year?
  • Take some time to earn your coal
  • What are your plans for winter break?

Focus

  • Director Peter Jackson discusses film adaptation of The Lovely Bones
  • M.U.S.I.C. assembles talented group of musicians for 24-hour recital
  • Surviving the home stretch
  • The Buzz
  • The Observer's choices for the best books of 2009
  • The Observer's choices for the best films of 2009
  • The Observer's choices for the best music of 2009
  • The Observer's choices for the best video games of 2009
  • The Spectrum Drag Ball
  • tUnE-yArDs' debut record merges folk music with noise
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