The Cleveland State Vikings wrestling season has officially concluded after seniors Riley Shaw and Sam Wheeler were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. Shaw and Wheeler both fell just short of all-NCAA honors.
The Vikings, as a team, finished 8-8 on the season and 4-2 in the EWL.
At the EWL tournament, Shaw finished first among the heavyweights for the second time in as many years.
Sam Wheeler, who was in his first season as a Viking wrestler, finished runner up at the EWL tournament, also earning him a seed in the NCAA Tournament. The 197-pound Wheeler also won 30 matches this season.
As a team, the Vikings finished fourth at the EWL tournament, scoring 55 points. Rider won the tournament as a team, scoring 89 points.
Also placing for the Vikings were Gabe Stark, Xavier Dye, Evan Cheek, and Mike Carlone.
Riley Shaw’s athletic career at CSU was one to remember. Shaw was only the 19th wrestler in school history to reach the NCAA tournament three time. The heavyweight was relied upon heavily by the coaching staff as both a leader and a wrestler, and he delivered on both parts.
Shaw won 30 matches this season, and 102 in his career. He was also the 15th ranked heavyweight in the nation.
At the NCAA Tournament, both Shaw and Wheeler split their matches on day one. Shaw began his tournament run with a 5-1 loss to Oklahoma State’s Austin Marsden, but followed it up with a 10-1 decision over Chattanooga’s Jared Johnson. Wheeler lost his first match as well to Virginia Tech’s Jared Haught by a 6-2 decision. He won his second match over Phil Wellington of Ohio by a 6-1 decision.
On the second day of the tournament, both Vikings would win their first match, but ultimately be eliminated after second match loses. Shaw opened the day with a 7-3 decision over Joseph Goodhart of Drexel, but was later pinned by Billy Smith of Rutgers. Wheeler also opened his day with a decision, defeating Michael Boykin of North Carolina State 6-4. He would later fall by decision to Oklahoma State’s Preston Weigel 3-2.
The Vikings will lose seven seniors going into next season, but the loses of Shaw and Wheeler will undoubtedly hurt the most.
Shaw’s remarkable collegiate career came to an end in an unfortunate way, but his legacy as a CSU wrestler will live on for years to come.