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MU prepares for Spartan Mat Classic

Article provided by Manchester University

NORTH MANCHESTER – A strong field of NCAA Division II, III, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and National Junior College Athletic Association programs are on the team roster for the 2018 Spartan Mat Classic on Saturday. Action begins at 9 a.m. inside Stauffer-Wolfe Arena on MU’s campus in North Manchester.

Coach Kevin Lake’s 2017-18 team is coming off a 1-2 finish at the 2018 National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Duals. The Spartans (2-7) felled Augustana College of Ilinois after being upended by No. 11-ranked Coe and UW-La Crosse.

Senior 141-pounder Chase Wilson remains on D3Wrestle.com’s top contender list with an 11-2 record that features seven bonus-point triumphs. The room wins leader, he’s followed closely by junior 133-pounder Ben Cauffman (10-2); sophomore 149-pounder Jordan Napier (9-6) and sophomore 133/141-pounder JaVon Phillips (8-6) on the victory ladder.

Two other Black and Gold grapplers, freshman 157-pounder Stephen Kitko and senior 197-pounder Alex Roberts are in five-or-more win territory, too. Napier joins Wilson on the D3Wrestle.com potentials group, listed as honorable mention. Four Spartans return that finished sixth-or-higher at last year’s SMC. Wilson was a champion at 141, while Phillips won the consolation title at 149; junior Isaac Ray wound up fourth at 174 and Cauffman took sixth at 133. MU has claimed at least one individual title in each of the past two Spartan Mat Classic events. 


Manchester University, Rose-Hulman, Washington University of Missouri, Indiana State University and Illinois State University converge on R-H’s Sports and Recreation Center Friday, Jan. 12. Competition begins at 5 p.m.

Friday marks the first of two January events for the Spartans’ men’s and women’s squads. They are also scheduled to be in the field at Trine University’s Keith Turner Alumni Invitational Saturday, Jan. 20.

Coach Brian Cashdollar’s men have a strong sprint corps returning guided by senior Harrison Hollis who finished in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s 60-meter top five a year ago. He wound up with a glowing cadre of 10 top five race efforts over his junior year. The sophomore class adds to the strength, as Austin Roberts and De’Lon Barnes each picked up similar finishes, while Roberts will also be among the leaders in the field events after claiming an event title as a freshman.

For the Black and Gold women’s team, there is experience around the roster. In the sprints, a quartet consisting of juniors Dasia Beck; Brianna Jondle; Jade Bollett and senior Paige Keller, are the centerpiece.

Beck, who will be among the jumps crew leaders, was part of four third-place league placings and claimed a total of four event championships over her sophomore season; Bollett claimed an individual event title a year ago; Jondle found herself part of the podium top three four times; and Keller, who also looks to pay dividends in the jumps as a stalwart in the pole vault and long jump, was among the top three eight times as a junior which included two event championships. 


Three successive meet weekends begin Saturday for Manchester University. Coach Mike Kroll’s men’s and women’s teams take an eastern trek to Wilmington College for dual action. Events get underway at 1 p.m. at WC’s Natatorium.

It’s the first time the Black and Gold squads have been in action since competing at Illinois Tech’s Ted Eriksen Invitational early last month. The two teams combined for 12 top-five marks that day, part of a fall in which the two sides reset 17 records on the board at Strauss-Peabody Aquatic and Fitness Center.

Continuing a fall review, the women’s trio of senior Emily Clark and freshmen Shelby Kell and Katie Blystone led the record-breaking theme doing so in nine individual events and being part of the same in three relays. The men were topped by junior diver Anjel Clemente. He set new point bests in one-meter, three-dive and three-meter, six-dive competition.

MU takes on fellow Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference member Anderson University and Olivet College from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association in a tri-meet Saturday, Jan. 20. AU’s Bennett Natatorium is the venue. 


Manchester University’s men begin a three-game road trip, while the women’s program ends back-to-back away tests Saturday, Jan. 13.

Tip-off time is 1 p.m. for the women and 3 p.m. for the men at Transylvania University’s Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington, Ky. Six of the last 10 meetings in the women’s series have seen nip-and-tuck finishes decided by 12-points-or-less. The Black and Gold swept last year’s men’s series, part of a recent stretch in which they’ve won nine of 16 against the Pioneers.

Women - Coach Josh Dzurick’s squad has seen a steady climb up the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings behind three victories in their last four loop contests. The run continued with a thrilling 65-63 decision over rival Anderson University Jan. 10. Several Black and Gold individuals have stepped up on the roll, especially the following trio.

Since returning from injury shortly after winter break, junior guard Faith-Alexis Graham has paid dividends. She’s averaging 15 points, two steals, three and a half assists and two and a half boards in two appearances. Fellow frontcourt player Mikalia Taylor, a freshman guard from Connersville, Ind., is a big factor, too. She’s averaging 12 points per contest over the last seven, raising her season average up nearly two full (7.9-9.6). The long ball plays a key role for Taylor, as she’s made at least one in all but two games played and has multiple treys in 10 outings. Forward/center Hannah Smith, another first-year player, is averaging 10 points and five and a half rebounds a game over her last two court opportunities.

Men – Junior guard Adrian Johnson’s 20th straight double-figure scoring total, accomplished in an 83-77 loss at the hands of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Anderson University Jan. 10, is something the Indianapolis, Ind., native won’t soon forget. He tallied 36 points, marking his third 30-point-plus total in a Black and Gold uniform, grabbed seven rebounds, picked off three steals and dished off an assist.

He was a difficult chore for the Raven defense at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena, whether it be from inside or outside the arc, hitting a better than 59 percent clip overall and just under 70 percent from three-point range. Johnson also made hay at the free throw line, going a perfect eight-for-eight. The junior’s big home evening moved him into No. 16 on the program’s all-time points list (1200), just six shy of the top 15. It kept him second in the league in scoring, too, trailing only AU’s Trevor Lucas, one of his mid-week counterparts (21.9-20.7 ppg).