DANBURY, Conn. — Cy Wainwright, second-year head wrestling coach, has been named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after leading Newberry to its third consecutive conference title. Newberry also had six all-league selections, placing three wrestler of the first team and three on the second team.
The Wolves finished 5-1 in ECAC duals this season and won a share of the conference championship for the second straight year. Nolan Whitely earned NCAA All-American honors with a seventh-place finish nationally at 133 pounds after taking down three-nationally ranked opponents.
Newberry also saw Austin Neal (125), Isiah Royal (141) and Austin Palmer (157) advance to compete in the Division II Wrestling Championships. The Wolves would finish the 2017-18 season ranked 16th in the nation.
Wainwright’s team accounted for several major awards throughout the season. Palmer and Whitely earned back-to-back ECAC Wrestler of the Month awards in December in January. Neal was named the Outstanding Freshman at the Midwest Regional after finishing second in his weight class and advancing to the national tournament. Neal and Austin Crocker were also named to the All-Academic Team by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Nolan Whitely (133 lbs)- First Team All-ECAC
Whitely, a senior from Chagrin Falls, Ohio finished the season with a 31-9 record. He came to Newberry from Wheeling Jesuit, where he was the Cardinals’ first NCAA DII national qualifier in program history. Whitely would only continue his successful stride this season with Newberry. On the season, he went 5-0 in tech falls, 4-1 in major decisions, and 5-1 in falls. Whitely was one of many Wolves to go undefeated in conference duals and went 5-0 in conference play. With a chance to advance to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championship, Whitely only dropped one match to the top-ranked opponent in his weight class. Whitely would claim the seventh place finish and the All-American honor after taking down three nationally ranked opponents.
Austin Palmer (157 lbs)- First Team All-ECAC
The junior from West Columbia claimed a 21-7 record season. Palmer had eight wins by fall and he went 3-1 in major decisions. Palmer has showed much resilience this season, starting with his performance at the Newberry Duals. He went 3-1 at the duals, with his sole loss coming from Larry Bomstad, runner-up at the NCAA Wrestling. Palmer would continue his success this season with a third place finish at the Midwest Classic after picking up five wins. He saw no losses during conference play, and carried on that winning mentality at the Super Region 2 tournament. Palmer snagged the first place finish at 157 pounds and earned a trip to the National Championship in Cedar Rapids after taking down all of his competition. He would capture one win in the NCAA tourney, before being eliminated by seventh-ranked Ryan Strope.
Patton Gossett (285 lbs)- First Team All-ECAC
From Lexington, Gossett finished the season with a 22-12 record. The heavyweight had nine wins by fall on the year, with his fastest time coming in a swift 13 seconds. Gossett dominated through conference play, tallying a 6-0 record in the ECAC. He had a great showing at the Region Duals, getting a big win against Tristen Weirich of fourth-ranked Ashland. At the Super Regional tourney, Gossett would meet with a couple of his opponents from earlier in the season. He would capture three wins during the two-day event, but would move into the fifth-place spot by rule.
Austin Neal (125 lbs)- Second Team All-ECAC
Neal ended the 2017-18 season at 125 pounds with a 13-13 record. He was most impressive in wins by major decision, racking up five wins and two losses. He finished conference competition with a 5-1 record. He advanced to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championship off of a second-place finish at the Midwest Super Regional. Neal was named Midwest Freshman of the Year and earned an NWCA All-Academic honor.
Isiah Royal (141 lbs)- Second Team All-ECAC
Royal, hailing from Guyton, Ga., finished conference with a 5-1 record and helped the Wolves earn the share of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship. He earned a third place finish at the Super Region II after taking down previously ranked Bryan LaVearn of Tiffin. As a freshman, he was the youngest of the Newberry clan to become a NCAA Qualifier. Royal went 23-15 this season and had a nearly perfect conference record, with his only loss coming at King against ninth-ranked Bryce Killian.
Alex Rice (165 lbs)- Second Team All-ECAC
Rice, a senior from Pasadena, Md. went 9-10 on the season and was perfect in conference play, with a 5-0 record. He picked up two big wins against Ritchie Guillaume from Limestone, including a brutal battle at Eleazer Arena. One of his losses at the Super Regional came to a ranked opponent in Nick Vandermeer of Lake Erie.