JCU wrestlers stung by Yellow Jackets to open 2021 season


JCU Sports Information

John Carroll faces Baldwin Wallace at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center in a pre-COVID meet.

Noah Tylutki, Special to The Carroll News

A talented-filled Blue Streak wrestling team returned to the mat in Berea, Ohio, on Sunday, Jan. 24, as they competed in a dual meet against Otterbein and crosstown-rival Baldwin Wallace in each team’s first meet of the year.

This season’s squad includes all four national qualifiers from 2020 and has earned a No. 2 preseason ranking from the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

After being nationally ranked for most of last season, John Carroll University picked up right where they left off as they defeated Otterbein soundly 36-13.  

The Blue Streaks started off the team scoring on a 17-0 run as Kyle Murray and national qualifiers Andrew Perelka and Jarrod Brezovec each picked up victories.

Last season, Perelka qualified for nationals and was nationally ranked at the 125-pound weight class but has moved up to 133 pounds this season. Brezovec remains at 141 pounds and is currently ranked the No. 3 wrestler in the country in his weight class.

At 157 pounds, Sammy Gross, another wrestler who qualified for nationals, won his match 10-4 to increase John Carroll’s lead to 20-3. Gross is also nationally ranked at No. 3 in his weight class.

Other highlights from the match included sophomore Patrick McGraw winning on a major decision at the 174-pound weight class and freshman Jeffrey Kusar picking up his first collegiate victory as a heavyweight.

The second match did not go as well for the Blue Streaks as they lost 26-16 in a tightly contested match with the Yellow Jackets, the No. 6 ranked team in Division III.

After a loss at the 125-pound weight class, John Carroll regained control with a 133-pound Perelka win 4-3 and took the lead as a team with a Brezovec pin at 141.

After losses at 149 and 157, the Blue and Gold took the lead with victories from junior Luke Reicosky — the No. 4 ranked wrestler in the country and 2020 national qualifier at 165 pounds — and Patrick McGraw at 174 pounds. 

However, the Yellow Jackets proved too much for the Blue Streaks as the Jackets came away with wins in the last three weight class groups to secure the 10-point triumph.

The Blue Streaks will attempt to secure more victories as they take on Ohio Northern and Wilmington next Sunday, Jan. 31.