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  • Photo: CSU athletics

    Photo: CSU athletics

    2021-22 College Preview: Cleveland State

    2021 NCAA Qualifier Ben Smith (Photo/CSU athletics)


    Cleveland State Vikings


    “The Vikings will be led by familiar faces this season, with eight MAC Place Winners projected in the starting lineup. Over the past few seasons, we have consistently improved and developed into a program that we believe will contend for a MAC title this year! Our student-athletes have embraced hard work both on the mat and in the classroom. Last year we earned the 3rd highest GPA in the country and had three NWCA Academic All Americans. This could be the best season that Cleveland State Wrestling has witnessed in close to 20 years.” - Head Coach Josh Moore


    TOP RETURNERS


    For the first time in over a decade, Cleveland State will have three returning NCAA qualifiers in their starting lineup. Marcus Robinson, DeAndre Nassar, and Ben Smith all competed last year in St. Louis. Smith was the only one of the trio that was able to garner a win at the national tournament. Both Robinson and Smith made the MAC Finals in 2021, while Nassar finished in third. Nassar started the year ranked #30 in InterMat's national rankings and Smith was #25.

    In addition to the “Big 3”, the CSU staff is excited about the return of 165 lber Riley Smucker. Though not seeded, Smucker finished fifth at the MAC Championships. He did not receive an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, but did earn a win at the conference meet over someone who did, Jake Silverstein (Rider).

    KEY DEPARTURES


    The only starter that the Vikings lost from the 2021 season was Justin Patrick, who went 2-3 competing at 133 lbs.

    TOP NEWCOMERS


    Freshmen to watch include Ben Aranda and Doug Terry. Aranda was a double Fargo Junior finalist this summer. That gave him four career All-American honors in Fargo. In Illinois, Aranda took fourth place as a junior. Terry was a two-time Ohio state runner-up competing in the II classification.

    CSU also had a pair of familiar faces in new places with Logan Heil and Caleb Graber. Heil returns to 125 lbs after manning 133 lbs for the bulk of last season. He didn't get to compete in the postseason and went 3-4 in the regular season. As a true freshman, in 2019-20, Heil went 24-12 with a pair of wins over NCAA qualifiers (Luke Werner - Lock Haven and Willy Girard - Bloomsburg). Graber did not see the mat in 2021. He was a 125 lber in 2019-20 and was 5-6 competing unattached.


    WRESTLERS TO WATCH


    A Viking that may be ready to take the next step in 2021-22 is 174 lber Anthony Rice. Rice won both of his MAC duals and was 5-7 throughout the year. He has impressed the CSU staff during the preseason.

    POTENTIAL LINEUP


    125: Logan Heil
    133: Cody Moosman/Jake Manley
    141: Caleb Graber
    149: Marcus Robinson
    157: Daniel Patten
    165: Riley Smucker
    174: Anthony Rice
    184: DeAndre Nassar
    197: Ben Smith
    285: John Kelbly

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