Photo by Megan Miller

After each senior wrestler in the first four-year class received a framed action shot from their collegiate wrestling careers, it was time for their final home dual meet. 

At the end of last regular season, the Cardinals lost to Mount St. Joseph (MSJ), 19-25, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A year later, on their 2019-2020 senior night, Otterbein won seven of 10 matches to secure a 31-12 victory. 

“To come back [from last season’s loss to MSJ] on senior night and get a W against a really good team with numerous nationally-ranked guys … was a great way to send the seven guys out that came in here four years ago and helped us resurrect this program,” Otterbein head wrestling coach Brent Rastetter said. 

The first of six seniors to wrestle on the night was heavyweight Chris Martinez (16-9), who pinned Desmond Harrell (0-6) in 1:53 in the lone exhibition match. 

          

A forfeit at 125 pounds gave the Cardinals a 6-0 lead before Jackson Lakso (14-4) pulled off a 5-3 upset over MSJ’s Tariq Hornbuckle (20-8), who was ranked #12 in the nation in Division III at 133 pounds.  

The Lions scored their first team points when Nate McClanahan (18-8) took down Santino DiSabato (12-12), 6-1, at 141 pounds with a 1:28 advantage in riding time. 

Jacob Williams’ (19-20) 11-3 major decision over Chase Haehnle (11-21) at 149 pounds put Otterbein in front, 13-3. 

          

MSJ’s Eric Fomekong’s (2-11) two escapes in the first period were enough to avoid a major decision by one point against #16 Ryan Whitten (35-7), who won at 157 pounds by a score of 9-2. 

At 165 pounds, Cardinal Willy Plaisir (24-11) had his way with Austin Belcher (4-14), earning a 4:39 advantage in riding time in a six-minute match. With four matches remaining, Otterbein had a 19-3 lead.  

Cornell Beachem Jr., who is Division III’s top wrestler at 174 pounds, began the Lions’ bridging of the gap by pinning Joey Bradberry (21-6) in 2:32.  

The night’s only match between ranked opponents was at 184 pounds: Otterbein’s #20 Corbin Bunsold (31-6) and MSJ’s #4 Antonio McCloud (24-3). McCloud’s win by 8-5 decision put his team within seven at 19-12. 

Two Otterbein seniors, Luke Hess (16-11) at 197 pounds and #1 Drew Kasper (27-0) at heavyweight, came through for their team at the end of their night with pins at 3:18 and 1:30, respectively. With those two victories, Otterbein seniors ended the night with a 5-1 record. 

Otterbein wrestling begins their postseason at NCAA Central Regionals in Adrian, Michigan, on February 28 at 3 p.m.