CLEVELAND, Ohio – Head coach Josh Moore of the Cleveland State University wrestling program announced Tuesday that five student-athletes have committed to continue their careers with the Vikings in the 2019-2020 season.
Three of these five will be incoming freshmen this fall—Peyton Blasko (Steubenville High School), Deandre Nassar (Bluffton High School) and Anthony Rice (Steubenville High School).
CSU will also bring aboard a pair of Division I transfers, Justin Patrick from Buffalo and Riley Smucker from Appalachian State.
These five will join a trio of Vikings—Jack Gorman (Aurora High School), Logan Heil (Brunswick High School) and Gus Sutton (Austintown Fitch High School)—that all signed National Letters of Intent with the program this past fall. Seven of the eight incoming Vikings hail from Ohio.
Blasko is a three-time state qualifier and two-time state placer at the Ohio state tournament. He placed third at 126 pounds last season and finished 2018-19 with a 42-5 mark. He is a two-time sectional champion and earned the 2019 Bierkortte Award, given to the Most Outstanding Wrestler during the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Championships. Blasko has won 136 bouts over the past three seasons.
Nassar won an Ohio state title at 182 pounds this past season and completed his senior campaign with an unblemished 48-0 mark. He is a three-time state qualifier and two-time state placer, as he finished fourth at 195 pounds last season. He has won at least 40 matches in each of the past three seasons and won Troy district and Lima Central Catholic sectional titles in each of his final two years.
Rice is a three-time Ohio state placer and owns a pair of top-four finishes. He took third at 152 pounds this past season as he notched a pair of bonus-point wins at the state tournament with his only loss coming to the state champion. He was named the OVAC Bill Welker Wrestler of the Year and tallied 172 career wins for Steubenville. Rice is a two-time OVAC Tournament champion and also won two district and two sectional titles in his career.
Patrick spent the past four seasons at fellow MAC member Buffalo. He posted a 28-6 record while redshirting during the 2015-16 campaign. He posted overall winning records in each of the next two seasons while competing at 125 and 133 pounds. Patrick missed this past season with an injury and will be applying for a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA.
Smucker redshirted as a true freshman at Appalachian State this past season. He won the Hokie Open Freshman/Sophomore Division at 165 pounds in his first collegiate competition. Smucker was a four-time state qualifier and three-time state placer for Smithville High School, including finishing as the state runner-up as a senior.
The Vikings' three early signees all had strong finishes to their senior seasons, led by Heil claiming the Ohio Division I state title at 126 pounds. Gorman and Sutton each placed at the Ohio state tournament, with Sutton taking third at 138 pounds in Division I after winning 53 matches on the season. Both Heil and Sutton defeated nationally ranked wrestlers during the state tournament.
Cleveland State loses just one starter to graduation this offseason as it will return nine of the 10 student-athletes that competed in the recent conference tournament. The Vikings will also welcome back three starters from the 2017-18 season that redshirted in 2018-19, including 2018 NCAA qualifier Evan Cheek.
Cleveland State will be joining the Mid-American Conference for wrestling beginning with the upcoming 2019-2020 season.