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Cornell College looking to build on school-record 15-win season

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa - What do you do for an encore? That's a question facing the Cornell College wrestling team.

Last season, the Rams won a school-record 15 dual matches and qualified junior Chris Heilman (125 pounds) and sophomore Dave Paramski (141) for the NCAA Division III Championships.

Heilman (33-9, three falls), who has 59 career victories, finished fourth in the Iowa Conference for the second season in a row and earned All-American status by placing seventh at nationals in Trenton, N.J.

"We're solid at 125," Cornell coach Mike Duroe said. "Heilman has higher aspirations this season and he is on track to do good things."

Sophomore Aaron Bingham (23-10) and freshman Nick Nothern, a three-time state qualifier from Kansas, will compete at 133. Paramski will miss the first part of the season with a hand injury. His replacement is sophomore David Boussios (19-15). Last season Boussios emerged as the 149-pounder, which could be a weight class by committee again this season with sophomores Caleb Wilson (21-17), Aaron Bartels (7-14) and freshman Alex Riniker.

There will also be plenty of depth at 157, where junior 65-match winner Pat McAuley and sophomore Aaron Kindelsperger (7-11) will compete. McAuley is a two-time IIAC placewinner, finishing sixth as a freshman at 149 and third last season at 157 when he compiled a record of 38-10. Sophomore Drew Vickers (18-21) finished eighth at 165 as a freshman and will return at that weight this season.

Sophomore Kyle Kehrli (16-28) and junior Reuben Zacharakis-Jutz (6-12) are at 174. There will be new faces for the Rams at 184 and 197, since the graduation of starters Adam Sandoval and John Ugaste. Ugaste was a four-year starter and compiled a career record of 80-47. Filling in for Sandoval at 184 will be Heilman's high school teammate sophomore Adam Smith, who transferred from Western State.

Junior Josh Pastor, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, will be at 197. Pastor was 3-12 and placed eighth in the IIAC as a freshman at 197. Junior Chris Gustafson (4-14) has been the Rams' 285-pounder for the last two IIAC tournaments. The All-American football linebacker has 21 varsity matches under his belt. Freshman Jason Edlund, a two-time Indiana state qualifier, will get his feet wet at the varsity level while Gustafson is playing football.

"We had a lot of guys put a lot of effort in over the summer," Duroe said. "They developed more strength and technical skill, and I see a lot of individual improvement in our returning guys."

Duroe said the Cornell schedule is tougher than last year, begining with a season-opening bout against the University of Chicago at the Northwestern Duals on Nov. 12. He is also concerned about replacing the senior leadership lost with the graduation of Sandoval and Ugaste.

"We're still inexperienced and need to prove ourselves," Duroe said. "I'm encouraged by the progress of Smith and freshmen Nothern, Riniker and Edlund."

The loss of Paramski will also slow the Rams in the early going.

"That definitely hurts us from an experience point of view," Duroe said. "We'll have to find guys to step up. It's early right now. We'll just have to wait and see."
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