Every team wants to perform its best at the end of the season, but the Muhlenberg wrestling team experienced most of its success in 2007-08 in the first half of the campaign. The Mules finished only sixth at the Centennial Conference Championships and, for the first time in 10 years, did not qualify a wrestler for the NCAA Tournament.
The ending spoiled a season whose highlights included a win against a
nationally ranked opponent, two wrestlers earning national rankings and five Mules winning a total of nine tournament titles.
Tartar ended his career with 34 pins, good for second place on the Mules’s all-time list.
Muhlenberg opened the season by crowning three champions – juniors Billy Hall (141), Rob Kein (149) and Matt Horn (184) – at the King’s Monarch Invitational. It was the first career title for Horn, who earned his second the following week at the Ursinus Fall Brawl.
The Mules finished the fall portion of their schedule by placing eight wrestlers at the prestigious Messiah Petrofes Invitational, then picked up where they left off a month later with three titlists at the Williams Invitational. One of them, Kein, was named Most Outstanding Wrestler, and when the next Division III rankings came out he was listed eighth at 149.
At Muhlenberg’s next tournament, the Washington and Lee Invitational, senior heavyweight Joe Tartar, who was
ranked 10th in Division III in the preseason poll, won his fifth career championship, and junior 174-pounder Justin Fitch captured his first.
Senior co-captain David Lavin won a 2-0 decision at 165 pounds in his final bout at Memorial Hall.
As the schedule shifted to dual meets, however, the team was plagued with injuries and the flu, most notably when it had to forfeit five weight classes in a match at Ursinus. The Mules went 4-8 in duals (2-5 in the CC), although they did close out on a high note with a 25-21 upset of 26th-ranked Messiah.
Hall and Fitch reached the championship finals at the CC Championships, although neither was able to come away with a title. Horn finished third for the third consecutive year.
Both Hall and Kein had successful seasons after moving up a weight class from the ones at which they were national qualifiers as sophomores. Hall ended the year with a team-best 27-5 record and placed in the top three in six tournaments. Kein finished at 25-6.
Two other juniors, Fitch and Horn, enjoyed breakout seasons. Fitch went 21-6, nearly doubling his win total (23) from the previous two seasons. Horn was 24-7 with a team-leading 11 pins.
Tartar wrapped up his career by compiling a 24-9 record with 10 pins.