Alliance, Ohio - February 20, 2010 - Eight All-Ohio Athletic Conference grapplers, highlighted by three champions, led to the fifth-straight OAC Tournament Title for the Heidelberg University wrestling team. Overall, the team combined to have representation in nine of 10 weight classes. Mount Union College hosted the tournament in the McPhearson Academic and Athletic Complex (MAAC) on its campus in Alliance, Ohio.
Heidelberg recorded 101 team points for the title followed by Mount Union with 89.5 points and Ohio Northern University with 71.0 points. John Carroll University took fourth (48.5) and was followed by Wilmington College (32.5), Baldwin-Wallace College (22.0) and Muskingum University (8.0).
Heidelberg’s fifth-consecutive tournament title ranks second all-time in the OAC. Mount Union posted six-straight wins from 1985-1990. All five trophies have came under the guidance of eighth-year head coach Jason Miller. Since Miller took over the helm, the Berg has also won three dual championships and have never finished lower than third in the final standings. This year Miller was tabbed the OAC Coach of the Year for the fifth-consecutive season.
Leading the way on the podium and retaining his 165 pound championship was Matt Curley (Brecksville, Ohio / Lakewood). Curley was the no. 1 seed of the tournament and earned a first round bye before recording two major decisions to earn the title.
Wasting little time in making an impact in their first years as a starter in OAC action was sophomores Tom D’Alessandro (Mayfield Heights, Ohio / Mayfield) and Sam Delpra (Chesterland, Ohio / West Geauga). At 133 pounds, D’Alessandro was also a no. 1 seed and took a first round bye. He went on to earn a spot in the title match with a 4-3 decision. D’Alessandro wasted little time finding a spot at the top of the podium, pinning Jeremy Jones of Ohio Northern in 37 seconds in the finals.
In the 141 pound weight class Delpra also picked up a first round bye and came out on fire in the semifinals posting a 15-5major decision. He brought home the championship by virtue of a 5-3 decision over Mount Union’s Josh Malave.
With their OAC Championships, Curley, D’Alessandro and Delpra have secured an automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Division III Championships at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa March 6-7.
Taking home runner-up honors, and subsequent all-league recognition, was freshman Andrew Johnson (Weston, Ohio / Ostego) (149), senior Zach Mizer (Canton, Ohio / Perry) (157), senior Dan Jonhenry (Berea, Ohio / Berea) (174), senior Ed Bizorik (Bellevue, Ohio / Bellevue) (184) and junior Brad Rice (West Jefferson, Ohio / West Jefferson) (197).
Mizer, Jonhenry and Bizorik each picked up their third All-OAC recognition, while Rice was an all-conference honoree for the second-straight year. Johnson led the team with two falls on the day. Mizer will increase Heidelberg’s representation at nationals to four by virtue of the conference’s at-large bid. It will be the third-straight year Mizer is a national qualifier.
Rounding out the placers was Delian Schneider (Tiffin, Ohio / Columbian) with a fourth at 125 pounds.
“It was a total team effort that led to our success today,” stated Miller. “I am proud of the effort on behalf of the entire team. They have overcome adversity this year and continued to believe that a championship was attainable.”