Leaders On, Off Mat, Key to Wrestling Success

2015 Wrestling Team
The wrestling team is honored at Quicken Loans Arena.
Photo courtesy of Tim Warsinskey, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Another successful season is in the books for the Notre Dame College Falcons wrestling team.

Joey Davis captured his third National Championship individually, many wrestlers finished as All-Americans at Nationals and a few finished as All-Academic as well. As a team, the Falcons brought home a sixth place finish at the National Tournament.

Head Coach Frank Romano said early on this season, the lineups were a question mark for the coaching staff. But once that was figured out, the team was on its way to success. The team won regional duals in Fort Wayne, Ind., and came in second in the National Duals behind Maryville University.

Romano was quick to point out that the Falcons eventually got revenge and beat Maryville later in the season.

Even with the ups and downs that come along with a collegiate wrestling season and the national tournament, Romano praised the team’s work ethic.

“Every team is different and I liked this team,” he said. “They wrestled hard and worked hard.”

The team has set the bar very high, and it continues to rise since the wrestling program began in the 2006-2007 season. Under the training from Romano, the Falcons have won seven titles and finished second twice.

The Falcons were the defending national champions this year, but Romano said the team knows how to deal with the pressure.

“We deal with the pressure pretty well,” Romano said. “Our athletes take it one day at a time, making sure we’re in shape and adhere to the rules of the college.”

Romano also spoke about making and maintaining weight, which is not something athletes in any other sport have to worry about except wrestlers. This sport, which is heavily based on weight classes, is dependent upon athletes staying in a certain range all season, from September to March.

As for the individual accolades, Romano is proud of his athletes who work hard and are noticed for what they do.

Andrew Banister and Ivan McClay were All-Academics this season. McClay finished with a 3.54 GPA and Bannister finished with a 3.81 GPA. These are leaders on and off the mat.

When the athletes do well in school, it brings a smile to the coaching staff’s faces.

“We have two seniors who are graduating this season (Louden Gordon and Mo Miller) who are going to get degrees,” Romano said. “That’s what we are here for, to help our athletes graduate.”

On top of these accomplishments, four Falcons were All-Americans, as they finished in the top eight in the National meet: Davis, first place finish; Mo Miller, third place; Jonatan Rivera, fourth place; and McClay, seventh place.


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