Wrestlers to do Cultural Exchange in Russia

Wrestlers to do Cultural Exchange in Russia

BEREA, Ohio – Eleven members of the Baldwin Wallace University wrestling program, two coaches and nine wrestlers, will travel to Moscow, Russia on May 28 and 29 and enter into a cultural exchange with both the Russian and Bulgarian national wrestling federations during the first week of June.  The BW contingent returns to Cleveland on June 8 and 9.

You can share in the experience by visiting the BW Athletics web site at www.bwyellowjackets.com and reading the daily story about the experiences of our student-athletes by recent graduate and 2015 NCAA Division III national qualifier David Shapiro (Beachwood).

"This is a great opportunity for our young men to experience a different culture and learn about a different style of wrestling," said BW Head Coach Jamie Gibbs, the 2016 Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and the man who led the Yellow Jackets to their first OAC title since 1973. "This is an opportunity of a lifetime and we plan to make the most of it.

"This is an opportunity for us to represent Baldwin Wallace University and the United States of America abroad," continued Gibbs. "We get a chance to learn and train from some of the best in the world, and our student-athletes get an opportunity to visit and learn about one of the world's most historic cities."

BW will be one of five NCAA Division III schools who will make the trip to Moscow. The other Division III schools are the University of Wisconisn-Eau-Clare, Norwich (Vt.) University, Johnson and Whales (R.I.) University and Rhode Island College. The trip is sponsored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. This is the seventh year that the NWCA has sponsored this exchange. The American grapplers will get to train and learn from World and Olympic champions and receive instruction from top Russian and Bulgarian coaches. The Americans also will compete in both freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions with their Russian counterparts.

In addition to Gibbs, the BW contigent will include Assistant Coach Mason True, Shapiro, senior Tyler Keating (Fairview Park/ Fairview), junior and 2016 NCAA Division III national qualifier Tyler Maclellan (Medina/ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy), junior Academic All-OAC student-athlete James Ritchie (Carlisle), fellow juniors Seamus Bermingham (Orchard Park, N.Y./ Orchard Park), Gabe Mahaney (North Canton/ Hoover), Patt McGinnis (Egg Harbor, N.J./ Cedar Creek), Jimmy Sandlin (Carlisle) and sophomore Zeckary Lehman (Akron/ Richfield Revere).

"The 10-day cultural exchange to Russia is a great opportunity for our student-athletes to gain cultural experience while training at an elite level," said Shapiro, who compiled a 104-40 career record and stands fifth on BW's all-time victory list. "We will be able to train with and compete against some of the best wrestlers in the World during an Olympic year. This trip has been proven to not only make a difference on the wrestling mat, but also in the lives of division three athletes."

In addition to training and competing, the BW student-athletes will get an opportunity to tour parts of Moscow and exchange gifts with their Russian friends. The Yellow Jacket student-athletes will be armed with a number of gifts, including BW pins, pens, backpacks and an array of t-shirts, including one's with both the BW and Yellow Jacket logo.

"This is going to be a fantastic trip," said Gibbs.  "We are all very excited to start the journey." 

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