The Otterbein wrestling team is ready to get back to normal and head into the 2021-22 season after a shortened season last year.
“Last year was rough,” Otterbein wrestling head coach, Brent Rastetter said. “The kids wanted an opportunity to compete and for them not to have as much time on the mat, they just put all their focus in the weight room.”
The Cardinals still tried to make the most of that shortened 2020-21 season. The team left with an overall record of 1-3 against their OAC opponents.
Now, the Cardinals are expected to take on a season that holds 13 events, whether it be a tournament or head-to-head dual. The team however hopes for 14 events, with the last one being the NCAA Championships in Iowa.
“I would say courageous would be a good word to describe us,” senior wrestler, Sam Shalvey said. “We overcame a lot of obstacles last year but all the guys stuck around after facing more adversity than we thought.”
The four captains leading the Cardinals this year include a senior trio of Sam Shalvey, Joey Bradberry and Jarrod Setliff along with junior Ryan Whitten. Setliff earned All-OAC honors last year while Whitten was a national qualifier as a freshman.
“All of our captains care about our success, on and off the mats.” freshman wrestler, Eric Saddler said. “They care a lot about our program and I think that’s why they do such a great job leading us guys.”
In addition, the program has also welcomed seven new faces to a roster that currently features 25 total student-athletes.
“We have some really good freshman in here this year,” Rastetter said. “I think we finally have it figured out in what direction we want to go. We just need to build off what we have at this point.”
The team will open their season at the Lycoming Invitational in Pennsylvania on Sunday, Nov. 7.
A pair of duals will be hosted in the Rike Center as the Cardinals welcome Baldwin Wallace on Nov. 30 and Muskingum on Feb. 8 after their midseason break.