KUTZTOWN, Pa. — The Newberry Wolves wrestling team had nine individuals place in the top six of their weight class, with eight Wolves qualifying for next month’s NCAA Division II National tournament, as the scarlet and gray rolled to their sixth straight NCAA Division II Super Region I championship on Saturday.
Newberry collected 147.5 team points to establish a new program record for team points at regionals. The eight national qualifiers also ties a team record. Pitt-Johnstown finished in second place with 119 points, while Mercyhurst was third with 85 points.
Newberry’s eight national qualifiers will participate in the NCAA Division II National Championships Festival in Birmingham, Ala., on March 8 and March 9.
Two wrestlers claimed the championship of their weight class — 149-pounder Deral Brown and 165-pounder Blake Ridenour.
Brown took a 10-3 major decision over Pitt-Johnstown’s Jack Bachman in the semifinals then took a 3-2 decision over Seton Hill’s Nick Nichols in the championship bout to earn his second trip to the national tournament. He was also a national qualifier in 2011.
Ridenour was dominant in the tournament, going 4-0 with three pinfalls. Ridenour’s matches did not make it out of the first round Saturday, as he pinned Millersville’s Zach Pincus at the 1:16 mark in the semifinals and pinned Mercyhurst’s Clint Schaefer at the 1:04 mark of the championship bout. Ridenour collected more points towards his team’s total than any other wrestler in the tournament.
Mitch Brown also made the championship match at 184-pounds before claiming runner-up honors. In the semifinals, Brown took a 5-3 decision over Gannon’s Zack Zelcs, but he lost a 7-0 decision to Pitt-Johnstown’s Travis McKillop in the championship bout.
Four Wolves claimed third place in their weight class to advance to the national tournament. At 141-pounds, B.J. Young took Pitt-Johnstown’s Dave Cawley to overtime, but dropped a 6-4 decision in the second tiebreaker period. Young rebounded with a 13-8 decision over Shippensburg’s Cody Myers in the consolation semifinals and took third place with a 4-2 decision over Kutztown’s Even Yenolevich.
Taylor Knapp was a hard luck loser in the semifinals, as UNC Pembroke’s Justin Pencook took a 7-6 decision with a late takedown. Knapp came back with a vengeance, pinning Kutztown’s Matt Martoccio in the consolation semifinals. Knapp took third place with a win by medical forfeit over top-seeded Braden Turner of East Stroudsburg.
Joey Grisko battled Kutztown’s Vinny Campanile in the semifinals. Neither wrestler was able to earn any points, but Campanile earned a riding time point for a 1-0 win by decision. Grisko took a 5-3 decision over Pitt-Johnstown’s Nikos Garofola in the consolation semifinals and earned a 9-3 decision over top-seeded Tyson Shearer of East Stroudsburg in the third-place match.
In the heavyweight class, Matt Wade) was the victim of a 12-3 major decision by West Liberty’s Mike Carpenter in the semifinals. Wade then took a 4-1 decision over Millersville’s Brad Ladd in the consolation semifinals. In the third place match, Wade got revenge for a loss in the dual with a 9-5 win by decision over Pitt-Johnstown’s Josh Duplin to earn third place.
Jeff Vesta added to his nation-leading pin total while placing fourth in the 125-pound class. He dropped an 8-0 major decision to Pitt-Johnstown’s Evan Link in the championship semifinals, then needed only 25 seconds to pin Millersville’s Sam Oberlander in the consolation semifinals. In the third place match, Vesta battled Gannon’s Matt Turek but dropped a 12-10 decision to take fourth.
Joe Pittman took fifth place at 174-pounds. In the consolation quarterfinals, Pittman won with a 1:39 pin over Millersville’s Dane Woodruff. In the consolation semifinals, Pittman lost a 6-4 decision in the sudden victory period to Pitt-Johnstown’s Gary Lantz. Pittman needed only 52 seconds of the fifth place match to pin Shippensburg’s Neal Grudi.
All 10 wrestlers advanced to Saturday action, but 133-pounder Nick Lankford lost a 21-5 technical fall to Kutztown’s Brandon Davis in the consolation quarterfinals. Lankford went 2-2 in the tournament.
Newberry was the only school with eight national qualifiers from the region, while Pitt-Johnstown will send seven to Birmingham.