Austin Troutman – Staff Writer
Ending the 2016-17 season at .500 in six conference matchups, the Clarion Golden Eagles wrestling team has a lot to be proud of.
The season was good for the entire team, but now is a time to look upon individual accomplishments.
Clarion University had sent the highest number of Eastern Wrestling League Championship finalists in almost seven seasons.
Jake Gromacki and Brock Zacherl both clinched a spot for the NCAA tournament in St. Louis starting on Thursday, March 16.
This year will mark the second consecutive year that Zacherl advances and the first time for Gromacki.
Zacherl had a phenomenal season, going 21-4, while Gromacki ended his year with a great record of 20-7.
Approximately 2,438 student athletes competed this season with hopes of making it into this tournament, but only 330 athletes have been selected.
The final matches of the tournament will be on Saturday, March 18 after three days of competition in the Scottrade Center.
Now that the wrestling season has ended, Clarion will look to improve and strengthen its team for next year.
The wrestling team has shown some improvement from other years, but is still looking to do better in the future.
Kyle Kiss, assistant wrestling coach, said, “Last year was a big year for us; we made a big turn in the program battling back from a 1-16 season two years ago with several guys transferring out. This year we continued to improve placing higher in our conference tournament and regular season conference duals.”
The Clarion University wrestling squad is showing great promise and will hopefully continue to produce high-level winners each year.
Kiss also said, “The goal is and always will be to get guys on the podium at the NCAA tournament, and we are working towards that every day.”
Some of the teammates are obviously disappointed for not going as far as others, but those wrestlers can set their sights on next season.
After a demanding season, the wrestlers look forward to the deserved offseason rest, and will hope to see two of their teammates succeed in St. Louis.
Some students wish to spend spring break in a warm atmosphere, like a sunny beach in Florida. Other students like to spend it at home, relaxing with their families for a few days. For Gromacki and Zacherl, nothing would be better than competing at an NCAA wrestling tournament in the Scottrade Center.