Wrestling underway at BGSU

10/26/2005 -

By Ryan Autullo BG News

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

October 03, 2005

Dan Mundrick breathed extremely heavily and pleaded for a drink of water. He even contemplated vomiting.

And he couldn’t have been happier.

Mundrick, a junior at BGSU, was one of 12 students at the club wrestling team’s first optional practice on Tuesday at Bowling Green High School. After months of tedious paper work, Mundrick, the team’s president, finally witnessed his plan of forming the school’s first club wrestling team coming to fruition. The team had its first official practice last night and will continue to do so four nights a week throughout the season.

“The big thing is going to be when that first tournament comes around and everybody gets to wrestle in it,” Mundrick said. “That’s probably going to be the best feeling.”

Mundrick, a two-time state qualifier at Anthony Wayne High School, passed up several opportunities to wrestle at NCAA programs so he could be closer to his family in the Toledo area. But instead of retiring from the sport he took up at age 4, Mundrick inquired about forming a club team at BG, which cut its varsity program in the early 1980’s to satisfy Title IX regulations.

Mundrick’s proposal was initially turned down because of inadequate space for wrestling mats on campus. Not to be discouraged, he met with Ken White, the father of high school teammate, Jamie White, and formulated a plan. They made arrangements for the team to hold practices at Bowling Green High School and BG’s head coach Andrew Webb and assistant Matt Jacobs agreed to coach the club team in addition to their normal duties. Webb and Jacobs will be joined on staff by White, alumni advisor Jim Kettinger and Mundrick’s father, Terry.

“At that time I thought it was a pipe dream,” Webb said of his first conversation with the club leaders earlier this year. “I thought they were just kind of talking out of their rear ends.”

It’s still uncertain how many wrestlers will be members of the team, as Mundrick is still actively recruiting around campus. The talent level of the team, though, is much more clear. As many as four Falcons competed at the high school state tournament and the remaining team members qualified for the district meet. The team will compete in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association and will be in a conference with teams like Toledo and Cincinnati.

“I’d say there’s a lot of talent in here,” said Justin Slauterbeck, a 2004 state placer at Oak Harbor. “I’m pretty sure almost every single one of these people who came out for this club could definitely make it to a couple smaller schools, if not big schools. I know for myself, I took a year off. Getting back into that physical and mental shape is going to be a big task.”

Webb, a four-year varsity wrestler at the University of Findlay, welcomes the thought of coaching at the high school and collegiate level despite having a 3-year-old and 1-year-old at home. His wife is the girl’s soccer coach at Perrysburg and understands and backs her husband’s passion for coaching.

“I’ll be really busy,” he said. “I won’t have a lot of time at home.”

The Falcons will kick off their season Nov. 5 at the Eastern Michigan Open. Other highlighted dates on the tentative schedule include a pair of matches with Toledo — away Dec. 3 and home Jan. 21. Webb said the freshmen on the team will have a significant advantage over their teammates who have been away from the sport for several years. Jamie White didn’t exactly agree with his coach’s thoughts, though, noting that he will have to work hard to get into optimal physical condition.

“It feels good to get out of the classroom and actually moving around and getting back into shape,” said White, a two-time district qualifier. “It’s still like varsity. We just don’t get that much recognition and support, money-wise. We hope to keep the involvement up so we can get money from the university.”

To receive funding from the University, the club must be in existence for two semesters and field a full team. Mundrick said the wrestlers have club dues of 0 each in addition to buying their own uniforms. But monetary figures are merely an afterthought to Mundrick, who is just happy to be part of a wrestling team once again.

“It feels good to finally get back on the mat and see how out of shape I am,” he said. “We’re ready to get the ball rolling and we’re waiting for that first tournament to show everybody what’s up.”