JCU Wrestling dominates at Wheaton Invitational


Tim Phillis

Andrew Perelka competing in a match earlier this season at John Carroll University

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

Placing seven wrestlers from 10 weight class brackets, the John Carroll University Wrestling Team earned a second place team finish in the 80th Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational on Jan. 28 and 29. 


After traveling to Wheaton, Illinois to compete against many top wrestling programs from across the nation, the Blue and Gold earned 100 team points to place them behind University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (136) for a second place finish. 


Kyle Murray ‘22, Andrew Perelka ‘22, graduate student Jarrod Brezovec, Luke Reicosky ‘22, Patrick McGraw ‘23, Daniel Devera ‘25 and Jesse Kanatzar ‘25 all placed within the top 10 of their weight classes at this invitational. 


Murray started out strong with three consecutive wins, a technical fall and two regular decisions before being defeated by JD McMillin from Ferrum College in a 10-4 decision. Murray finished in fifth place in the 125 pound bracket after a forfeit from Cody Merwin (Cortland State).


After competing in seven matches in two days, Perelka finished in third place at 133 pounds after losing only one match during the tournament. Perelka won his first two competitions before losing in the quarterfinals by a 6-5 decision. 


The loss was barely a setback for the Blue Streak, as he worked his way back into the bracket, where he went 4-0, earning 18.5 team points for John Carroll. 


“It felt nice to get a third place finish, especially since the 133 pound weight class at this event had many top ranked kids. I was able to test myself before regionals which was nice,” said Perelka. “At the end of the day, I had a solid tournament. I would have liked a higher finish, but I learned a lot and am battle tested before regionals which is great.”


Scoring 14.5 team points with a fourth place finish, Brezovec won all the way through the quarterfinals, where he beat Levi Englman from Ferrum College in a sudden victory. In an 8-4 decision, Brezovec was defeated in the semifinals but still placed in the top 5 in the 141 weight class. 


Reicosky placed seventh in the 157 pound bracket after a hard fought weekend of match-ups. Starting with a technical fall and two sudden victory wins, Reicosky lost in the quarterfinals round.


He won his next match in an 8-6 decision, and finished the tournament with a pin at 2:58 against Joaquin Bautista from the University of the Ozarks. 


No. 13 ranked National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) wrestler Patrick McGraw lived up to his skills and abilities as he finished in fifth place wrestling at 167 pounds.


Earning his way into the quarterfinals, McGraw lost by fall to Casey Allen (Cornell College). He worked his way back up, winning by a 5-2 and a 6-4 decision in the next two matches. His placing added 11.5 points for the Blue and Gold. 


Starting the weekend off with two technical fall victories, Devera won by a 3-2 decision over Joey Jens from North Central (IL) in the quarterfinals. His win streak was halted by Cornell Beachem in the semi-finals round of the 174 pound weight class. Devera ended the invitational in sixth place, tallying 12 team points. 


Kanatzar added to his stats sheet in the 197 pound weight class as he finished in sixth place at the tournament. Two major decisions earned him a spot in the quarterfinals, where he was defeated by Don Phillips II (Buena Vista University). Kanatzar came back with a 3-2 victory in the fifth round of the consolation match, sending him to the consolation semifinals and his final placing. 


“Moving forward this tournament will allow us to build and learn from the mistakes that were made this past weekend,” said Perelka. “We are picking up steam right when it matters and with this group of guys it should be a fun postseason run!”

The Blue Streaks are back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. as they travel to Alliance, Ohio for an OAC match up against the University of Mount Union Purple Raiders.