By Nathan Flom
Last January, the UNF wrestling team had low expectations for its season. Days later, the team was sky high with new found confidence. It finished second to the eventual national champion University of Central Florida.
The team achieved this feat in last year’s Florida State Dual Meet. The Ospreys are making a rugged effort to maintain the level of excellence that surprised many last year.
UNF will be hosting this year’s State tournament Jan. 21, a huge step toward becoming more nationally recognized. It was ranked 13th out of 90 teams in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Points Ranking as of Nov. 22.
“Our success starts with our coach, Scott Sherman, and the philosophy he instills in us on the mat and in life,” said UNF wrestler Zack Lebovic.
Thus far in the season, the Ospreys have competed in three events. Their top wrestler is Chad Baumann, a freshman from Deland High School, with a record of 10 wins and two loses.
The team’s best performance came Nov. 19 when it competed in the University of Central Florida Open. It entered as one of 17 teams and came out with a top-five finish. Phil Morencey had the best individual performance, finishing in second place at 285 pounds.
The Ospreys had standout performances from Lebovic, Brandon Lustgarten and Luke Weiss, as well. The balance of their squad was felt throughout all of the weight classes, from 133 to 285 pounds.
UNF wrestling has the tools to be a top 10 team this year — it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together and peaking at the right time, Lebovic said.