The competition may have been tougher, but that didnt deter the
Muhlenberg wrestling team from turning in another strong season. Even with
the offseason additions of Kings Point and Stevens Tech to the Centennial
Conference for wrestling, the Mules still finished 4-3 in CC dual meets,
marking the sixth time in the last seven years they were better than .500
in conference action. Muhlenberg was 8-10 overall.
Loesch went 30-5 and became only the fourth wrestler in
team history to win 30 matches in season.
Sophomore Matt Loesch had the best season of any Muhlenberg
wrestler, advancing to the consolation finals at 197 at the NCAA Division
III Championships. Loesch finished in fourth place, the Mules best
finish ever at nationals. He started off the first day of the tournament
by winning his first two bouts against two seeded wrestlers, becoming the
first Muhlenberg wrestler ever to win his opening bout at the NCAA
Championships, not to mention his first two.
This achievement alone earned him All-America status, joining Jason McLean
(2001) and Nate Yeasted (2003) as the only other Muhlenberg wrestlers to
be named All-Americans.
Loesch advanced to the NCAAs by winning the 197-pound weight class at the
Centennial Conference Championships that were held at Memorial Hall on
February 19. Junior Dale Mills, who missed most of the season with
an injury, reached the 149-pound final for the second straight season. In
the final, Mills was handed a loss by 10-7 decision by a Kings Point
wrestler who had been ranked as high as second in Division III earlier in
A two-year captain, senior Jeremy Hart won 65 bouts in
Sophomore John Hesse (184) also reached the finals, but
was pinned by an Ursinus wrestler who entered the CC Championships with a
35-1 season record. Freshman Joe Tartar, who finished 20-8 with a
team-high 11 pins, placed third at heavyweight. The Mules came in
fourth place with a total of 48.5 points.
Muhlenberg wrestled its best as the dual-meet season came to a close and
the conference championships came near. The Mules won three of their last
five meets overall, and their two losses were both
by five points, one to nationally ranked CC champion Ursinus.
Excitement for next season is already building with most of the roster
set to return. Freshmen and sophomores accounted for 75 percent of the
bouts that Muhlenberg won in 2004-05. In addition to Tartar, Hesse and
freshman Brian Saval (157) were two other underclassmen to have big
years. Hesse went 19-11, and Saval was 17-8 with three major decisions and
three pins at 157.