Review (with video): Wrestling season concludes with regular season title and national champion
By: Darren Miller
The Ohio Northern wrestling team put together another impressive season during the 2011-2012 campaign.
Under head coach Ron Beaschler, the Polar Bears finished with a perfect 5-0 record in the Ohio Athletic Conference, winning their sixth regular season OAC Championship title.
Coach Beaschler received OAC Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his 24 years as head coach. He is the all-time winningest coach at ONU, with his teams posting an overall record of 246-181-4 over his tenure.
At the OAC Tournament, Ohio Northern placed second overall, with three wrestlers winning OAC Championships in their individual weight classes.
Overall, the Polar Bears ended the season with a 12-4 dual record and finished 20th in the final Brute-Adidas NWCA poll, after being ranked as high as 12th.
Junior Kyle Kwait capped off his amazing season by winning a national championship in the 174-pound weight class at the NCAA Division III Tournament. Kwait is the fourth wrestler from Northern to achieve this prestigious honor.
The junior has earned All-American status in each of his three years wrestling for the Polar Bears. He was 39-1 on the season overall, improving his career mark to 113-13, currently fifth on the ONU all-time list.
Kwait was OAC Wrestler of the Week four separate times during the season, OAC Tournament Champion and MVP, and OAC Wrestler of the Year.
Senior Mick Letcher had an impressive 32-10 record on the year in the 157-pound class. Letcher appeared in his second consecutive NCAA Tournament, after earning the OAC's at-large bid.
Letcher was named OAC Wrestler of the Week for the weeks of Dec. 19 and Jan. 16. He finishes his career at Northern with an overall record of 107-39, tied for seventh place on the school's career victories list.
The senior was also tied for the team lead in pins on the season with 16.
Senior Billy Painter also qualified for the NCAA Tournament by winning the OAC Tournament title in the 165-pound weight class.
Painter finished the season with a 26-9 record, extending his record to 87-39 over his career at Northern.
Sophomore Michael Pawlitz earned All-OAC honors by finishing second at 195 pounds in the OAC Tournament. Pawlitz finished the season with an impressive 28-9 record.
His 28 wins were third best on the team, and he was tied for most pins on the team with 16.
Jeremy Jones won the OAC Tournament title in the 133-pound weight class and advanced to his first NCAA Tournament. The junior was 22-14 on the year, 3-1 in the OAC.
Freshman Cody Lovejoy had a great first collegiate season finishing 26-17 in the heavyweight division, with 16 pins on the year. Lovejoy received All-OAC honors by finishing second at the OAC Tournament.
Northern began the season with a 1-3 record through their first four duals. The team put their slow start behind them, winning 11 of their next 12 dual meets, adding up to a 12-4 finish.
In five OAC dual match victories, the Polar Bears outscored their opponents 143-61.
The team also placed sixth out of 31 teams at the Wheaton (Ill.) Invitational, second at the Baldwin-Wallace Invitational, and 18th at the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio Northern posted a 322-298 individual record on the year overall, with 95 pins as a team.