INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The No. 4 Newberry Wolves advanced seven wrestlers to Sunday’s action as placers at the 35th Annual Midwest Classic and hold a slim lead in the team placement battle.
Newberry scored 84 points in Saturday’s action, which was wrestled up to the semifinals in both the championship and consolation brackets. McKendree is just behind the Wolves with 80.5 points, while Maryville isn’t far behind at 75.5 points. Host Indianapolis is in fourth with 67 points and Upper Iowa is fifth with 65 points. None of the other 24 teams are within 20 points of the Wolves.
The Wolves recorded 10 pins and three technical falls to lead all 29 teams in those categories after the tournament’s first day.
Newberry has seven wrestlers who placed, with all having potential to rack up more team points Sunday. McKendree has six placers, and all six are in the championship semifinals. Maryville has eight placers wrestling Sunday, U Indy has six placers and Upper Iowa has six placers, setting up an exciting team race.
Newberry has won the event the last three seasons and four of the last six seasons.
At 125 lbs., No. 3 Jeff Vesta advanced to the semifinals with a first period pin of West Liberty’s Zach Brown and a 3-0 decision over Limestone’s Alex Battaglia. His performance Sunday will go a long way in determining the final team scores, as he faces Maryville’s Brandon Oshiro in the semifinals, with UIndy’s No. 4 Alex Johns and McKendree’s Jose Torres in the other half of the bracket.
At 141 lbs., No. 5 B.J. Young cruised to a pair of early wins and then earned a hard-fought win in the quarterfinals to advance to Sunday’s semifinals. He opened the day with a first period pin over Lake Erie’s Isaac Morrisette and followed that up with a 16-1 technical fall over Ashland’s Clarence Longley. In the quarterfinals, Young took a 10-8 decision over Limestone’s Taylor Wickett with a takedown just before the buzzer in the sudden victory period. He will see U Indy’s Jutin Kieffer in the semifinals, with rival No. 6 Daniel Owenby of UNC Pembroke and Lindsey Wilson’s NAIA No. 3 Wismit Moinius in the other half of the bracket.
At 157 lbs., No. 6 Taylor Knapp vaulted himself into the semifinals with a first period pin of Cumberlands’ Isaac King and a 10-6 win by decision over Maryville’s Greg Hagerty. Knapp will see Lindsey Wilson’s NAIA No. 1 Joe Cozart in the semifinals. Lake Erie’s No. 2 Zak Vargo and McKendree’s Josh Ballard are in the other semifinals.
Heavyweight Matt Wade is the fourth Newberry wrestler in the semifinals. Wade won his opening bout with an 8-2 decision over Lindsey Wilson’s Ameer Daniels before scratching by Wheeling Jesuit’s Logan Bowman by a 10-9 decision. In the quarterfinals, he earned a 3-1 decision in the sudden victory period over UIndy’s Evan Wooding. Wade faces Mackenzi Green of Trine in the semifinals, with Tiffin’s No. 4 Kevin Christman and Maryville’s No. 7 Donnell Walker in the opposite bracket.
Three other Wolves are still alive in the consolation brackets and have secured their places in the top eight finishers of the tournament.
At 149 lbs., Seiji Borja started his day with an 8-5 win by decision over Findlay’s Dalton Nicely and a first period pin of East Stroudsburg’s Ray Nicosia. After a loss by major decision to U Indy’s Cameryn Brady in the quarterfinals, the Academic All-American rebounded with a 17-2 technical fall over King’s Chance Smith. Borja can finish as high as third and no worse than eighth, depending on his performance Sunday. His first match of the day will come against Maryville’s Joseph Moorhouse.
At 174 lbs., Joe Pittman returned to the lineup and went 4-1 on the day. He needed only 1:20 to pin Ohio Valley’s Austin Antill in the first round, but lost a 3-1 decision to Maryville’s Zeb Wahle in the second round. The Nebraska transfer then rolled out three wins to earn a placement and advance to Sunday. He needed just 13 seconds of the second period to earn a 16-1 technical fall over King’s Blaike Henry, pinned Gannon’s Chris Matthews in 2:03 and held on for an 8-6 decision over McKendree’s Luis Alba. He can finish no worse than eighth and as high as third. He has a chance for revenge in his first match of the day, with Wahle standing in his way.
At 184 lbs., Jared Holliday went 3-1 on the day. He opened with a pin of Ohio Northern’s Dillon Brancheau in the second period, then pinned West Liberty’s Doug Sizemore in the second period as well. In the quarterfinals, he faced off with NAIA No. 1 Jameel Bryant of Lindsey Wilson. Holliday had defeated Bryant earlier in the season in dual action, but Bryant sent Holliday to the consolation bracket Saturday with an 8-4 win by decision. Holliday advanced to Sunday’s action with a 3-0 decision over East Stroudsburg’s Luke DeLuise. He faces UNC Pembroke’s Brach Walker in his first match of the day tomorrow.
Only three wrestlers failed to advance to Sunday’s action, as Travis Laxton went 2-2 at 133 lbs., Kayne Melko went 1-2 at 165 lbs. and Braden Carter went 2-2 at 197 lbs.