ALLIANCE, Ohio – Dylan Steward's third-place finish led the Adrian College men's wrestling team at the University of Mount Union Invitational on Saturday.
Steward's showing at 157 pounds led a total of five placers for the Bulldogs.
Steward rattled off an 8-1 win and a 12-6 victory before he was pinned in the semifinals. He would come back to win two more matches on the consolation side of the bracket to earn third.
"I felt good in all areas – on my feet as well as on top," Steward said. "I felt I could have worked on bottom quite a bit since I got turned a couple of times in my semifinals match and lost by fall. One thing I need to work on is transitioning off bottom."
The junior led the team with 32 wins a year ago and has picked up right where he left off.
He also won the title at the Adrian Invitational in the opening week of the season.
"The approach to the season was great. I got to drill with some of the new guys on the team, which really pushed me to get better every day," Steward said. "I feel that I'm wrestling at a high pace because I'm used to drilling hard in the room, which leads me to not think of how hard I'm going in a match since it feels natural for me to push myself at all times."
Winning is contagious, Steward said, adding that we wants to set the right example for the rest of the team.
"I believe if I do well my teammates will see that and it will rub off on them to improve," he said.
Head coach Bill Schindel said his team rose to the occasion on Saturday at Mount Union.
"Five placers, I think, is a pretty decent showing for our second weekend and amongst a lot tougher field," Schindel said. "I felt as a team these guys battled. We got a bunch of wins. We got five guys on the podium."
Zac Reynolds went 2-2 on the day at 184 pounds and finished in fifth place for the Bulldogs at 184 pounds.
Judah Caballero picked up two wins at 125 pounds before dropping his semifinal match by a point. He would go on to finish sixth.
"I think we responded amazingly," Schindel said. "I think we saw the difference in the level of fight – the amount of fight it takes as you wrestle tougher competition."
There were four NCAA Division II teams at the tournament, plus the No. 13-ranked host Mount Union out of Division III. Team Scores: 1. Gannon (Pa.), 279.0; 2. Lake Erie, 244.5; 3. Bellarmine (Ky.), 172.0; 4. Seton Hill (Pa.), 163.0; 5. Ohio Northern, 143.0; 6. SUNY Brockport, 132.5; 7. Adrian, 100.0; 8. Mount Union, 82.0; 9. Ohio Valley (W.Va.), 0.
"I was impressed most with how well we're coming together as a team," Schindel said. "Being on the road, being in the hotel – these guys are starting to mesh well. When it comes time for duals, that'll pay off."
The Bulldogs are off until Friday, Nov. 16, when they head to Manchester for a dual.
--Dominic Adams, Special to AdrianBulldogs.com
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