Letter to the Editor: More ‘Hurst athletic teams deserve recognition

My name is August Mizia and I am writing on behalf of your The Merciad publication on Wednesday April 27, 2016.

The article I’d like to bring to attention is titled “Ups and downs of the 2015-16 Lakers athletics” by Marco Cicchino, and I bring it to attention due to the blatant ignorance of your publication time and time again.

I find it hard to believe that we have a student athlete who is in the absolute upper echelon not only of all time Laker athletes, but also NCAA Division II wrestlers, but cannot make the cut for the post-year wrap up at his home school.

Willie Bohince, the 3X All-American, and 2016 NCAA Runner-Up failed to be mentioned in an article focused on accomplishments of this year’s athletic department, yet the basketball team gets a throwback to the one time they made the NCAA tournament, a year ago. But that’s not all.

Let’s take a look at your 2015-2016 Mercyhurst University Wrestling Team. This is a team that sets standards based on accomplishments at the national level, not the PSAC, state level tournaments. But since that seems to be of utmost importance, let’s start there.

At the 2015 PSAC individual championships, which boast four institutions competing at the Division I level, Mercyhurst finished third in the team race (ahead of two Division I schools). We had place winners at eight out of 10 weight classes, all placing in the top six of their respective weight classes. Mercyhurst finished second in the Division II PSAC dual meet season, after taking home the title the three previous years.

Now let’s head to regionals, another tournament garnering rings and celebrations with most other sports on campus. This year we placed seven of 10 guys at the NCAA Super Region I Tournament, finishing third of 15 NCAA programs. Mercyhurst produced champions at three weight classes, runners up at two others, and a fifth and sixth place finish. From the seven place winners, five earned the right to compete at the NCAA National Tournament.

At the NCAA tournament, Mercyhurst boasts four All Americans in a sport where AA status is not voted upon by a committee, but won in competition. These four All-Americans finished second, sixth, fifth and seventh in the NCAA at their respective weight classes. Willie Bohince (125), Jeremy Landowski (149), Francis Mizia (165), and Andy Welton (285) are all multiple time All-Americans, meaning this is not the first time they have competed at such a high caliber. This is something that may be worth mentioning, as it is one of very few teams on this campus that are consistent at this level. The wrestling team finished in the top 10 (9th) at the 2016 NCAA Tournament, competing in a field of 42 teams.

Although all of these athletic accolades are certainly noteworthy, let’s talk on the academics of these guys that get no recognition. Our wrestling team boasts nine Academic All-Americans, and at the NCAA tournament were awarded for having the second highest GPA in the country. Although a great feat, we had the top GPA in the country in 2013, but again, no words of praise for these brutes, which is unfortunate.

To the editor of this newspaper, shame on you. You are allowing some of the best athletes this institute houses fly under the radar, and luckily for you, these guys are not in it for the fame. I am though, and I see a problem when you are writing about teams that finished at .500 winning percentages and leaving out arguably the most dominant, consistent team this school has for the last half-decade.

To the writer of this article, do some research – actually report. The article you produced is embarrassing. Stop saving steps, stop writing about our “major sports” (as you like to word it), and start writing about our “winning sports” (as I will word it).