Williams Baptist Greco-Roman

Williams Baptist College’s Greco Commits So Far

williams baptist college greco-roman commits

It’s mid-May now, a full seven months since Williams Baptist College announced the addition of its new Greco-Roman team, and things are starting to fall into place. With any collegiate wrestling program, recruiting athletes always stands as a primary goal. When we’re talking about a Greco collegiate program, even more so. After all — up until WBC added the style, Northern Michigan was the only college in the country where students could continue their Greco careers. And like NMU, the staff at Williams is being tasked with finding promising athletes who would like to compete collegiately, just not in folkstyle, a rarity in this country, to be sure.

Even with that, there is plenty of talent to be found. Williams Baptist Greco-Roman head coach Jonathan Drendel will be overseeing a young, eclectic mix of wrestlers, including some who have come over to Greco from Williams Baptist’s emerging folkstyle team, led by Kerry Regner, the man who was instrumental in bringing Greco to the school in the first place. Drendel knows his work is supposed to be cut out for him but thus far, he is pleased with how recruiting has been going. “Recruiting for Greco is kind of unprecedented, but the quality and integrity of the guys we’re finding has been exceptional,” he said. “Right now we’re in the process of getting people to believe in the program and that we will do what we say, which is change the frontier for Greco in this country. It has been a lot of work, but the output is building and we’re starting to pick up speed.”

Speed has been the key. Williams has managed to attract several young wrestlers with solid Greco experience and perhaps just as intriguing, a number of defections have come over from the folkstyle side of things. “Athletes approached us or we approached them about going from folkstyle to Greco because we feel that they will be better in Greco than they are at folkstyle, if they aren’t already,” offers Regner. So that is the combination Williams is working with — incoming freshmen and wrestlers who are already enrolled at the school, but in the other style. If you’re thinking these are highly unusual circumstances, you’re right. But there is something to be said for wrestlers crossing over between styles and so far, Drendel notices a level of enthusiasm in his charges that has him amped up for what’s to come.

“These guys love wrestling but even more so, they love Greco. Seeing these guys step back on the mat wrestling Greco full-time is like watching kids wrestle again. They’re excited, they are enjoying the process, and can’t wait to compete. Seeing athletes excited about Greco is why we do this, it’s why we started this program, and why we will continue to chase down guys who have been forced to wrestle folkstyle, but are Greco-specific. Seeing this excitement keeps us going and makes us do what we do.”

Williams Baptist College Greco-Roman Commits — 2017

Chris Allen, 55 kg/59 kg, Kansas City, MO — 2011 Greco-Roman Pan-Ams 4th place, two-time Missouri state Greco-Roman runner-up

Drendel: “He is a smart wrestler. He has been around the game a long time and is looking to get back into it. Chris has the skills and the knowledge to compete at the top level.”

DeVaughn Sapien, 55 kg, Boise, ID — Two-time state champion, NJCAA National qualifier, Fargo All-American (Greco & freestyle)

Drendel: “DeVaughn has a rich history in Greco, but he’s going to have an even richer future. He’s ready to step it up and he will here.”

Sean Sesnan, 55 kg, Lebanon, TN — Two-time state finalist, three-time Greco-Roman state champion

Drendel: “Sean is a solid young man on and off the mat. He works hard and he has the ability to take it to the next level, and we’re looking for him to do so in the near future.”

Patrick Grigsby, 66 kg, Webb City, MO — Two-time NAIA National qualifier, Greco-Roman state champion

Drendel: “Pat is a Greco guy who has been forced to wrestle folkstyle his whole life. He is coming into his own in Greco and is going to be an immediate force to be reckoned with.”

Regner: “Patrick has always been better at Greco and will be better at Greco. He is still a good folkstyle wrestler, but if you watch his highlight tape for folkstyle, it’s a lot of throws. He is very explosive and very gifted naturally. His best style is Greco.”

David Leyva, 66 kg, Chico, CA — Two-time state qualifier, California Greco-Roman state champion

Regner: “He comes from California, a state that teaches freestyle and Greco before folkstyle. In a lot of states, it’s easy to win a Greco state tournament. In California, it isn’t, and he’s a Greco state champ. David is very much a goer and has a big gas tank and will try to wear his opponents down. He breaks people and is going to see a lot more success in Greco because he is good at hand-fighting, holds position, and he tears people down to score.”

Zach Reveir, 70 kg, Bold, MN — NJCAA All-American, Minnesota Fargo team member

Drendel: “He’s a solid guy on and off the mat who is going to be a leader. Zach has been away from Greco for awhile, but it’s where he needs to be. He was born and made for Greco.”

Regner: “Obviously being from Minnesota, he has a great knack for hand-fighting and controlling ties. Physically, he is a hand-fighter, he has good two-on-one’s and positioning that is really tough to break through.”

Cole White, 70 kg, Ware County, GA — GA state placewinner

Drendel: “Cole is an extremely tough kid. He works hard and is raw in the sport of Greco but is going to soak things up quickly.”

Ryan Whittle, 75 kg, Greenwich, CT — Two-time NAIA National qualifier

Regner: “Ryan uses a lot of throws. In folkstyle, he was very dangerous if he got a bodylock. It was a position he would win in folkstyle matches pretty easily. Over the last couple of months since he has been training only in Greco, he has developed a pretty impressive side lift. He’s very strong and explosive, so it’s going to be interesting to watch him grow as a Greco competitor.”

Conner Linehan, 80 kg, St. Louis, MOS — Two-time NAIA National qualifier

Regner: “Again, similar to Zac and David, he is a hard-nosed wrestler. No one trains harder than this guy. He’s just a madman. Conner is always getting extra workouts in, he is getting extra lifts in. He just has more desire than the average person. Conner’s hand-fighting is solid, he is developing a good high-dive, and he will see more success in Greco.”

Zac Tomac, 80 kg, Plano, IL — Illinois Greco-Roman state champion, Illinois Fargo team member

Drendel: “He has been away from the sport for a little bit, but he’s a Greco wrestler at heart. It’s going to take some adjusting as he gets back into it, but he is extremely talented and has a lot of potential.”

Devon Amburgy, 90 kg, Mason, OH — State qualifier

Regner: “I call him ‘the steal of the draft.’ If there was a draft for Greco from folkstyle, he would be the steal. He is going to make some big waves in the Greco world.”

Conor Karwath, 100 kg, Gonzalez, LA — NAIA National qualifier

Regner: “Over the last three years, Conor has been one of the most tactical wrestlers on my roster. He is intelligent, has good hand-eye coordination, and he has a very solid foundation when it comes to staying in good position.”

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