2019 Mat Mayhem: Pairings and Preview
More Mat Mayhem: Nearly 320 ranked wrestlers to descend on Louisville for annual NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals
Louisville, Kentucky – With nearly 320 wrestlers from 84 teams converging this weekend on the Kentucky Expo Center and Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, the name Mat Mayhem remains an adequate descriptor of what’s to come on January 4-5 as NUWAY hosts the NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals presented by the United States Marine Corps and Defense Soap.
Five different collegiate wrestling divisions will come to Louisville for the first time in a dual meet advancement format to crown a national dual meet champion as the draws were also released on Wednesday.
This year’s field features 65 ranked teams, with the three of the five divisions competing in 16-team brackets. Division III will stage a 24-team bracket, while the women’s teams, which compete in the Olympic freestyle style, compete in a 12-team bracket.
WHAT: NUWAY hosts the 2019 NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals presented by the Marines and Defense Soap
WHEN: January 4-5, 2019
WHERE: Freedom Hall & Exhibition Hall – Kentucky Expo Center, Louisville, Kentucky
TICKETS: All-Session Adult ($45), All-Session Student ($25); Single Day Adult ($25), Single Day Student ($17).
WATCH: Trackwrestling.com (PPV) / Fox College Sports (Tape Delay)
Division II (16): Central Oklahoma, Fort Hays State, Gannon, Indianapolis, Limestone, Lindenwood, McKendree, Nebraska-Kearney, Notre Dame College, Pitt-Johnstown, Seton Hill, St. Cloud State, Upper Iowa, UW-Parkside, West Liberty, Wheeling Jesuit
Division III (24): Augsburg, Augustana (Ill.), Baldwin Wallace, Centenary, Chicago, Coe, Greensboro, Heidelberg, Ithaca, Johns Hopkins, Johnson & Wales, Luther, Millikin, Mount Union, Olivet, Roger Williams, UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Whitewater, Wabash, Wartburg, Westminster, WPI, York (Pa.)
NAIA (16): Baker, Bethany (Kan.), Campbellsville, Grand View, Indiana Tech, Life, Lindsey Wilson, Marian, Midland, Missouri Valley, Providence (Mont.), Southeastern, Southern Oregon, U. of the Cumberlands, Williams Baptist, York (Neb.).
NJCAA (16): Barton, Cowley, Harper, Itasca, Jamestown (N.Y.), Joliet, Labette, Muskegon, Nassau CC, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Northwest Kansas Tech, Rochester (Minn.), Southwestern Oregon, Spartanburg Methodist, Triton, Western Wyoming
Women (12): Campbellsville, Emmanuel, Gannon, King, Life, Lyon, McKendree, Missouri Valley, Nassau CC, Southern Oregon, U of the Cumberlands, Wayland Baptist
Here is a breakdown of what to look for in each respective division.
St. Cloud State is looking to win its third straight National Duals crown and a fifth overall. Currently riding a Division II-best 35-match win streak, the Huskies will be the top seed and open with Seton Hill in a rematch of last year’s final which St. Cloud State won 41-0. The Huskies (7-0) also bring a Division II-best eight nationally ranked wrestlers to Louisville, led by top-ranked 125-pounder and 2016 NCAA Division II champion Brett Velasquez and top-ranked 197-pounder Vince Dietz, a Division II runner-up a year ago. The winner of the dual will face the winner of the Upper Iowa-West Liberty dual in the quarterfinals.
Upper Iowa, seeded eighth, has four nationally ranked wrestlers to contend with, led by Justin Foley at 133 and Dalton Hahn at 184 pounds. The pair comes in ranked seventh. There’s one matchup between ranked foes that could take place and that’s at 197 pounds where West Liberty’s Logan Kemp is ranked seventh and Upper Iowa returning All-American Nick Baumler is ranked No. 12.
Despite its amazing wrestling tradition, the Mountain Cats of Pitt-Johnstown have never finished higher than third at the National Duals. That third-place finish came back in 2016 and longtime coach Pat Pecora’s squad will come to Louisville with five ranked wrestlers, including top-ranked returning Division II national champion Chris Eddins at 149 pounds. The Mountain Cats open with Fort Hays State, which has placed in the top eight just once in school history. Coach Chas Thompson’s team finished fifth back in 2014. The key matchup is a possible national final at 133 pounds as 2017 All-American Brandon Ball is ranked second for Fort Hays State, while UPJ counters with third-ranked Joey Alessandro. The winner of this dual will advance to the quarterfinals to face either Indianapolis or No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney.
While Nebraska-Kearney is ranked No. 1 in Division II, that ranking is based on a tournament point projection by how teams’ individual wrestlers are slotted in the rankings. The Division II Coaches Association seeded the National Duals based on dual strength as each region had a representative submit their votes for the top eight seeds. The Lopers will face a UIndy team that could make things interesting as the Greyhounds have three ranked wrestlers in the mix. The Lopers boast a pair of top-ranked wrestlers – Matt Malcolm at 157 and Calvin Ochs at 165. The top matchup comes at heavyweight as UIndy’s Dylan Faulkenberg comes in ranked third, ahead of returning All-American and fifth-ranked Jarrod Hinrichs.
Third-seeded Notre Dame College is loaded again as the Falcons have five ranked wrestlers and return All-Americans Kelan McKenna (133), Tony Vezzetti (184) and Kameron Teacher (285). They’ll face UW-Parkside, which returns All-Americans Airk Furseth (133) and James Lehman, who was an All-American at 197 last season, but has competed at 184 this year. The winner will advance to face either No. 6 Lindenwood or Wheeling Jesuit.
While Seton Hill was the unseeded team making a run to the finals last year, the year prior, it was Wheeling Jesuit that crashed the party. The Cardinals again find themselves unseeded, opening up with No. 6 Lindenwood. With 11 wrestlers ranked between the two teams and three matches head-to-head involving ranked wrestlers, the key for advancing in this tight dual will be bonus points. Third-ranked Carlos Jacquez of Lindenwood has been on fire recently, winning the Midwest Classic. He’ll face fifth-ranked Cole Laya. Danny Swan was a solid fifth at the Midwest Classic and he’ll match-up with returning All-American Tyler Warner of Wheeling Jesuit at 133. The dual could come down to a pair of ranked heavyweights as Wheeling Jesuit has a strong presence with returning national champion Terrance Fanning. Lindenwood can counter with 11th-ranked Courvosier Morrow.
The rest of that quarter bracket involves seventh-seeded Central Oklahoma squaring off with Gannon and second-seeded McKendree drawing Limestone to open the round. UCO has placed in the top eight 15 times and was a 2002 winner of the event. The Bronchos (yes, with an h) have three ranked individuals, while Gannon’s top individual is fifth-ranked George McGuire at 157 pounds. McKendree is a solid No. 2 seed and the Bearcats are looking to set a new program record for highest men’s finish. The team finished fifth in 2017, while the school’s women’s program has two National Duals runner-up finishes to its credit. McKendree has been bolstered by the availability of Michael Pixley, a past NAIA national champion who transferred from Grand View and had previously been an NAIA finalist at Lindsey Wilson. With no ranked wrestlers, Limestone will have a monumental task ahead of itself should the Saints want to be this season’s Cinderella.
Division II Ranked Wrestlers/Matchups
#1 St. Cloud State vs. Seton Hill
125: #1 Brett Velasquez (SCSU)
133: #11 Garrett Vos (SCSU)
141: #9 Travis Swanson (SCSU)
149: #2 James Pleski (SCSU)
157: #7 Jake Barzowski (SCSU)
165: #4 Devin Fitzpatrick (SCSU)
174: #3 Kolton Eischens (SCSU)
197: #1 Vince Dietz (SCSU)
#8 Upper Iowa vs. West Liberty
125: #10 Maleek Williams (UIU)
133: #7 Justin Foley (UIU)
184: #7 Dalton Hahn (UIU)
197: #12 Nick Baumler (UIU) vs. #7 Logan Kemp (WLU)
#5 Pitt-Johnstown vs. Fort Hays State
141: #3 Joey Alessandro (UPJ) vs. #2 Brandon Ball (FHSU)
149: #1 Chris Eddins (UPJ)
157: #4 Efe Osaghae (FHSU)
165: #9 Devin Austin (UPJ)
174: #7 Brock Biddle (UPJ)
197: #6 Levi Niebauer (UPJ)
#4 Nebraska-Kearney vs. Indianapolis
125: #2 Josh Portillo (UNK)
141: #4 Jon Killingsworth (UNK)
149: #7 Jacob Wasser (UNK) vs. #9 Kyle Barkovich (UIndy)
157: #1 Matt Malcolm (UNK)
165: #1 Calvin Ochs (UNK)
184: #5 Zach Stodden (UNK) vs. #8 Brody Connor (UIndy)
285: #3 Dylan Faulkenberg (UIndy) vs. #5 Jarrod Hinrichs (UNK)
#3 Notre Dame College vs. UW-Parkside
125: #11 Joe Arroyo (UWP)
133: #2 Kelan McKenna (NDC) vs. #10 Airk Furseth (UWP)
141: #8 Jose Rodriguez (NDC)
174: #6 Cornell Beachem (NDC)
184: #2 Tony Vezzetti (NDC) vs. #11 James Lehman (UWP)
285: #1 Kameron Teacher (NDC)
#6 Lindenwood vs. Wheeling Jesuit
125: #3 Carlos Jacquez (LU) vs. #5 Cole Laya (WJU)
133: #3 Tyler Warner (WJU) vs. #8 Danny Swan (LU)
149: #4 Gavin Londoff (LU)
165: #10 Keegan Driscoll (WJU)
174: #11 Connor Craig (WJU)
184: #10 Colton Clingenpeel (LU)
197: #11 Jared McKindley (LU)
285: #2 Terrance Fanning (WJU) vs. #11 Courvosier Morrow (LU)
#7 Central Oklahoma vs. Gannon
157: #5 George McGuire (GU)
184: #4 Heath Gray (UCO)
197: #4 Colton Looper (UCO)
285: #8 Blake Berryhill (UCO)
#2 McKendree vs. Limestone
125: #8 Marcus Povlick (McK)
133: #9 Charles McNeal (McK)
149: #6 Isaiah Kemper (McK)
157: #9 Nate Smalling (McK)
174: #2 Nick Foster (McK)
184: #3 Michael Pixley (McK)
With 24 teams in the Division III field, the top eight seeds have opening round byes. That being said, the depth of Division III is continually growing, but the power still remains centered around “The Burgs” – Augsburg and Warburg. Combined, they’ve won all previous 17 iterations of the Division III National Duals and they’re seeded 1-2 again this year. No. 1 Augsburg brings eight ranked wrestlers, including two No. 1’s to Louisville, while No. 2 Wartburg has six ranked wrestlers and a pair of top-ranked competitors. Augsburg, the retuning National Duals champions, will draw the winner of the Chicago-Centenary dual. Centenary comes to the event with the nation’s top-ranked 197-pounder and All-American Etiini Udott. Chicago has two ranked wrestlers, including All-American Steve Bonsall at 157.
No. 8 York College of Pennsylvania will see the opening-round winner between UW-La Crosse and Augustana (Ill.). Key matchup to watch there is featuring a pair of returning Division III All-Americans – Augustana’s Adarios Jones, who placed third in 2017, and fourth-ranked Konrad Ernst of UW-La Crosse. Ernst was sixth last year. York is led by three-time Division III All-American Gregory Warner at 149 pounds and the Spartans will bring three ranked wrestlers and a formidable dual squad to Louisville.
No. 5 Wabash has four ranked wrestlers, including top-ranked All-American Darden Schurg at 174 pounds. The Little Giants will have an opening-round bye and face the winner of the dual between Luther and No. 12 UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks are in their first year under head coach Matt Zwaschka and bring two ranked wrestlers to the field, including All-American Mike Tortorice at 125 pounds.
No. 4 Ithaca has four returning All-Americans and leading the Bombers are Ben Brisman, a returning NCAA Division III national champion who comes in ranked No. 2 at 141 pounds, along with top-ranked All-American Jake Ashcraft at 184 pounds. Marty Nichols’ squad awaits the winner of the dual between Johns Hopkins and No. 13 Olivet College.
No. 3 Johnson & Wales has emerged out of Rhode Island and staked a claim to be a perennial contender in Division III. The Wildcats have five wrestlers ranked in the top seven, including returning national champion Jay Albis at 125 pounds. With four returning All-Americans and a battle-tested squad, the Wildcats are a threat down low to always jump out to a big lead. They face the winner of the Heidelberg-Millikin dual. Millikin has three ranked wrestlers – Chris Williams (141), Braden Birt (157) and Keajon Jennings (197) – all of whom are returning All-Americans.
No. 11 Roger Williams will face first-time entrant Greensboro College in the opening round with the winner facing No. 6 Mount Union. Roger Williams’ wrestler to watch is 165-pound Taylor Shay, who’s ranked fourth in the country. Mount Union is off to 10-0 start. Jairod James won the program’s second-ever individual Division III national championship a year ago and is recently off a seventh-place finish at the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, where he became the first wrestler in school history to place at the prestigious event. James’ brother Jordin is ranked ninth at 133 pounds.
No. 7 Baldwin Wallace has an opening-round bye and will face the winner of the dual between Westminster and No. 10 Coe. Baldwin Wallace has been on the rise the last half decade, led by head coach Jamie Gibbs. Second-ranked Anthony Arroyo is a two-time All-American. Coe should be heavy favorites over Westminster, which is in just its second year as a program led by head coach Mike Eierman.
No. 2 Wartburg will have an opening-round bye and will face either No. 15 WPI or UW-Eau Claire. The Knights, winners of 11 Division III National Duals titles, have reached the championship round in each of the last 17 years. They’re 5-6 against Augsburg in finals and 6-0 against everyone else. Top-ranked Brock Rathbun (133) and Cross Cannone (157) are returning national champions.
Division III Ranked Wrestlers/Matchups
#1 Augsburg – BYE
125: #6 Victor Gliva (Augsburg)
133: #2 Sam Bennyhoff (Augsburg)
141: #3 David Flynn (Augsburg)
149: #1 Alex Wilson (Augsburg)
157: #6 Aaron Wilson (Augsburg)
165: #1 Ryan Epps (Augsburg)
184: #4 Tanner Vassar (Augsburg)
197: #4 Lance Benick (Augsburg)
#16 U. of Chicago vs. Centenary
157: #3 Steve Bonsall (Chicago)
174: #9 Kyle Peisker (Chicago)
197: #1 Etiini Udott (Centenary)
#9 UW-La Crosse vs. Augustana (Ill.)
157: #9 Grant Zamin (UW-La Crosse)
285: #3 Adarios Jones (Augustana) vs. #4 Konrad Ernst (UW-La Crosse)
#8 York (Pa.) – BYE
149: #7 Greg Warner (YCP)
184: #5 Frankie Krauss (YCP)
197: #10 Hasan Alic (YCP)
#5 Wabash – BYE
133: #10 Riley Lomenick (Wabash)
141: #10 Owen Doster (Wabash)
149: #8 Griffin Schermer (Wabash)
174: #1 Darden Schurg (Wabash)
#12 UW-Whitewater vs, Luther
125: #3 Mike Tortorice (UWW)
174: #6 Nick Bonomo (UWW)
#13 Olivet vs. Johns Hopkins
133: #8 Ricky Cavallo (JHU)
#4 Ithaca – BYE
125: #5 Ferdinand Mase (Itahca)
141: #2 Ben Brisman (Ithaca)
184: #1 Jake Ashcraft (Ithaca)
285: #5 Jake O’Brien (Ithaca)
#3 Johnson & Wales – BYE
125: #2 Jay Albis (JWU)
141: #7 Joe Ferinde (JWU)
149: #3 Da’Mani Burns (JWU)
184: #3 Khamri Thomas (JWU)
197: #5 Michael DiNardo (JWU)
#14 Millikin vs. Heidelberg
141: #4 Chris Williams (MU)
157: #8 Braden Birt (MU)
184: #9 Dylan Roth (Heidelberg)
197: Keajion Jennings (MU)
#11 Roger Williams vs. Greensboro
165: #4 Taylor Shay (RWU)
#6 Mount Union – BYE
133: #9 Jordin James (UMU)
174: #2 Jairod James (UMU)
#7 Baldwin Wallace – BYE
149: #5 Stanley Bleich (BWU)
165: #2 Anthony Arroyo (BWU)
197: #9 Zachary Lehman (BWU)
#10 Coe vs. Westminster
133: #4 Brock Henderson (Coe)
157: #10 Cole Erickson (Coe)
174: #5 Jake Voss (Coe)
#15 WPI vs. UW-Eau Claire
157: #4 Tyler Marsh (WPI)
184: #6 Dan Wensley (WPI)
#2 Wartburg – BYE
125: #10 Brady Kyner (Wartburg)
133: #1 Brock Rathbun (Wartburg)
157: #1 Cross Cannone (Wartburg)
165: #9 Mike Ross (Wartburg)
174: #4 Kyle Briggs (Wartburg)
197: #6 Kobe Woods (Wartburg)
The NAIA is unique in the way it allows more than one wrestler per weight class to qualify for its year-end national championships. With a max of 12 wrestlers, it also provides teams with various options when it comes to dual meets. The NAIA also ranks 20 wrestlers and of the 200 ranked wrestlers in the nation, 116 are expected to compete in Louisville. Grand View, the top seed, is looking for the record-breaking eighth straight National Duals title. They share the record with Division III Wartburg, which won consecutive titles between 2011-2017. Grand View’s dual meet win streak currently sits at 67 in a row and the squad’s last loss came in the fall of 2013 to Division I Iowa State. They’ll open with Bethany of Kansas, which has three ranked wrestlers. Best match in the opener could be top-ranked Ryan Niven against Bethany’s 11th-ranked Brandon Lawson-Archuleta. Grand View has 12 wrestlers ranked in the Top 20.
The winner of the Grand View-Bethany dual will face the winner of the Missouri Valley-Southern Oregon dual. While ranked lower by one spot in the NAIA rankings, Southern Oregon comes in as the No. 8 seed and this one should be a back-and-forth affair as six of the weights will feature head-to-head matchups between ranked wrestlers. Southern Oregon is led by returning All-Americans Chandler Michael at 149 and Hunter Hodges at 165. Missouri Valley’s big gun is returning All-American Jesse Gomez, who’s ranked second at 285.
A Mid-South Conference battle will open up the action for fifth-seeded Lindsey Wilson as the Blue Raiders face off with Campbellsville. Nine of the 10 weights feature ranked wrestlers, with five head-to-heads. Lindsey Wilson boasts top-ranked heavyweight Brandon Reed, while Campbellsville has a young squad led by 2017 All-American Jaedin Sklapsky, who enters the event ranked No. 12 at 149 pounds. The winner will advance to face Williams Baptist or fourth-seeded University of the Cumberlands.
With 15 wrestlers ranked in the Top 20, the Williams Baptist-Cumberlands dual has the opportunity to be tight, despite the ranking discrepancy. The Patriots and head coach Chris Fleeger are led by returning national champion Hayden Lee at 125 and top-ranked 149-pounder Tres Leon, who was named the NAIA Wrestler of the Week after his performance at the Division I-dominated Midlands championships. Lee and Leon are two of four All-Americans in the Cumberlands’ lineup. They’re joined by 197-pounder Eric Deluse and heavyweight Quandre Chisolm. Arkansas’ Williams Baptist finished second at the National Duals a year ago and was hit hard by graduation and the transfer of two-time finalist Demetrious Thomas to Division I Pittsburgh.
Fans are still struggling with the name change, but the University of Providence doesn’t seem to have any identity crisis with its wrestling program. Formerly known as Great Falls, the Argonauts are seeded third and will open with Marian, a third-year program making aggressive strides to be nationally competitive. Providence has five wrestlers ranked in the top 10, including returning NAIA runner-up Adrian Lyons-Lopez. Keep an eye on 12th-ranked Brandon James of Marian at 133. He has a very successful high school career and had stops in Division I before landing on the Indianapolis campus.
The winner there will face either No. 6 Life or Baker University in the quarterfinals. Life is led by the program’s first national champion, Nosomy Pozo, who returns at 157 pounds. Baker has a returning champ of its own in the form of 174-pounder Lucas Lovvorn, who will match up with fifth-ranked Lucius Van Rensburg.
No. 7 Midland is solid down low, with three wrestlers ranked in the top four at 125, 133 and 141 pounds, respectively. The Warriors face an up-and-coming Southeastern squad which saw the program earn its first individual All-Americans last season and two of them return – Dylan Chatterton at 157 pounds and Ethan Owen at 141. Owen will have one of the tallest orders, facing off with David Berg, the second-ranked wrestler in the country at the weight. Berg was third at last season’s NAIA championships at 133, while Owen was seventh at 141. California products Julian and Jonas Gaytan are solid at 125 and 133 for Midland, as noted above.
No. 2 Indiana Tech has been second at the National Duals two of the last three seasons, but the Warriors were just seventh last year. They will open with Cumberland University in the first round, a squad that features just three ranked individuals compared to Indiana Tech’s 12. Six of Indiana Tech’s wrestlers are ranked in the top 10, highlighted by returning NAIA runner-up Erique Early. All-Americans Sawyer Miller (125), Gaige Torres (141) and Justin Atkinson (149) also pace the Warriors.
NAIA Ranked Wrestlers/Matchups
#1 Grand View vs. Bethany (Kan.)
125: #1 Justin Portillo (GV)
133: #1 Shiquan Hall (GV)/ #4 Trevor Murano (GV) vs. #19 Trey Edwards (Bethany)
141: #3 Eric Clarke (GV)
149: #2 Devin Reynolds (GV)/#3 Josh Wenger (GV)
157: #4 Steven Lawrence (GV)/#7 Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (GV)
165: #1 Ryan Niven (GV) vs. #11 Brandon Lawson-Archuleta (Bethany)
174: #3 Lawton Benna (GV)
197: #1 Evan Hansen (GV)
285: #5 Cooper Thomas (GV) vs. #20 Brix Brickey (Bethany)
#8 Southern Oregon vs. Missouri Valley
125: #10 Francisco Barrera (SOU)
133: #7 Zachary Durbin (MVC)
141: #10 Casper Sherow (MVC) vs. #13 Devin Poppen (SOU)
149: #4 Chandler Michael (SOU) vs. #19 Seth Johnson (MVC)
165: #12 Hunter Hodges (SOU) vs. #19 Elias Vaoifi (MVC)
174: #14 Dalton Tipton (MVC)
184: #10 Tristan Ramberg (MVC)/#14 Dayton Brown (MVC) vs. #18 Calvin McKinnis (SOU)
197: #4 Tanner Fischer (SOU) vs. #20 Terry Martin (MVC)
285: #2 Jesse Gomez (MVC) vs. #17 Max Hane (SOU)
#5 Lindsey Wilson vs. Campbellsville
125: #11 Jordan Martinez (CU) vs. #14 Cagen Wallace (LW)
133: #10 Marvin Galette (CU) vs. #15 Brady Moser (LW)
141: #5 Trent Johnson (LW)
149: #12 Jaedin Sklapsky (CU)
157: #8 Derrick Smallwood (LW) vs. #15 Michael Diemer (CU)
174: #10 Brett Bradford (LW) vs. #19 Mahlic Sallah (CU)
184: #16 Aaron Mosley (CU)
197: #13 Avery Buckman (LW)
285: #1 Brandon Reed (LW) vs. #10 Ashton Mutuwa (CU)
#4 U. of the Cumberlands vs. Williams Baptist
125: #3 Hayden Lee (UC)
133: #6 Tanner Irwin (WB)/#17 Jaitlan Pitts (WB)
149: #1 Tres Leon (UC)
157: #6 Bobby Ehman (UC) vs. #12 Kyle Lee (WB)
165: #9 Tristan Macri (UC) vs. #20 Tristan Kole Meador (WB)
174: #18 Jonathan Stewart (WB) vs. #20 Jarod Swank (UC)
184: #8 Jeff Haley (WB)
197: #6 Eric Deluse (UC) vs. #8 Benjami Turnbough (WB)
285: Quandre Chisolm (UC)/#12 Aaron Johnson (UC)
#3 Providence (Mont.) vs. Marian
125: #16 Christopher Sharp (Marian)
133: #12 Brandon James (Marian)
141: #18 T.J. Baun (UP)
149: #6 Shonn Roberts (UP) vs. #9 Noah Warren (Marian)/#15 Bailey Moore (Marian)
157: #5 Casey Dobson (UP)
165: #2 Adrian Lyons-Lopez (UP) vs. #16 Trezdon O’Neal (Marian)
174: #15 Jack Servies (Marian)
184: #12 Randy Keesler (UP)
197: #5 John Hensley (UP) vs. #13 Zachary Worm (Marian)
285: #4 Mathew Hopkins (UP)/#13 Justin Harbison (UP) vs. #16 Ethan Bunce (Marian)
#6 Life vs. Baker
125: #9 Devaughn Sapien (Life) vs. #20 Emmanuel Brown (Baker)
141: #20 Chase Zemenak (Life)
149: #17 Mason Calvert (Life)
157: #1 Nosomy Pozo (Life)/#16 Syd Ohl (Life)
165: #13 Osvani Ley (Life)
174: #1 Lucas Lovvorn (Baker) vs. #5 Lucius Van Rensburg (Life)
184: #5 Jacob Smith (Baker)
197: #3 David Dow (Baker) vs. #9 Dialo Matsimela (Life)
285: #15 Bradon Hill (Life)
#7 Midland vs. Southeastern
125: #5 Jonas Gaytan (Midland) vs. #13 Jaaziel Santana (SEU)
133: #4 Julian Gaytan (Midland)
141: #2 David Berg (Midland) vs. #6 Ethan Owen (SEU)
149: #13 Jake Watters (SEU)
157: #9 Dylan Chatterton (SEU)
165: #7 Dominique Evans (Midland)
174: #9 Stephon Gray (Midland)
184: #11 Jason Davids (SEU)
197: #12 Luis Peguero (SEU)/#17 Jesse Pryor (SEU)
#2 Indiana Tech vs. Cumberland U.
125: #2 Sawyer Miller (IT)
133: #3 Erique Early (IT)
141: #4 Gaige Torres (IT)/#14 Matthew Miller (IT) vs. #17 Keyshawn Laws (CU)
149: #5 Justin Atkinson (IT)/#10 Robert Humphrey (IT)
157: #10 Mason Gaines (IT)
165: #6 Jacob Gross (IT)
174: #13 Jake Weimer (IT) vs. #12 Nathan Walton (CU)
184: #8 Thomas Dull (IT)/#15 Josue Hill (IT) vs. #19 John Olivieri (CU)
197: #11 Oscar Martinez (IT)
Despite winning the last five National Duals titles, Clackamas is unable to attend this season, which opens the door for a new winner for the first time since 2013, when Labette claimed the title. While Northeastern Oklahoma A&M isn’t familiar with winning National Duals titles in its short history, NEO head coach Joe Renfro is. He led Labette to that 2013 title before taking over the restarted program at NEO. The Golden Norsemen will be heavy favorites to advance past Itasca Community College of Minnesota. The top individual matchup pits top-ranked Zeke Silva of NEO against fourth-ranked Corey Schmidt at 197 pounds. Boo Dryden (133) and Alex Kauffman (184) are returning All-Americans. The NEO-Itasca winner will face either No. 8 Labette or Triton.
Only three ranked wrestlers will be featured in the Triton-Labette dual, but one of them is top-ranked Dillon Prutch of Labette at 125 pounds. Second-ranked Tyree Johnson of Triton was third last year at the NJCAA championships.
Fifth-seeded Barton has come on the scene in a hurry. The fourth-year program features three ranked wrestlers, including returning All-American Gage Gomez at 133 pounds. Barton was fifth a year ago, while Muskegon’s best finish was seventh in 2012. The winner will face either fourth-seeded Nassau Community College or second-year Joliet Junior College.
Nassau, winners of a number of non-scholarship NJCAA championships over the years, made its return to the National Duals last year and finished eighth. Coach Paul Schmidt’s Lions will face a Joliet quad with a rich history that head coach A.J. Blahut is trying to recapture. Nassau’s top gun is top-ranked Michael Abidin at 174 pounds, while Joliet’s lineup features sixth-ranked Rodsean Graham.
No. 3 Northwest Kansas Tech has noted international feel as two of its three ranked wrestlers hail from Mongolia. They’ll face Jamestown Community College of New York in the opening round. Top-ranked Munkbhat Bat-Ederene finished second in the NJCAA championships a year ago at 133 pounds, while the Mavericks also highlight the lineup with second-ranked Bat-Erdene Boldmaa at 141 pounds. The top matchup here comes at 184 pounds where second-ranked Cameron Page of Jamestown will face sixth-ranked Charles Small of Northwest Kansas Tech. The winner of this dual will face either No. 6 Harper or Spartanburg Methodist.
Spartanburg Methodist coach Matt Oliver brings two ranked wrestlers to the event with fourth-ranked Tramon Jenkins at 125 and seventh-ranked Caleb Spears at 174. Harper’s Michial Foy was third a year ago at the national championships.
No. 7 Rochester is a slight favorite over Southwestern Oregon as the dual features just two wrestlers who are ranked and both of them are Rochester YellowJackets. Second-ranked Shane Siewert is one to watch at 174 for Rochester. The winner of the dual will face either second-seeded Western Wyoming or Cowley Community College.
Cowley’s been ambitious this year, wrestling duals against Division I, Division II and NAIA schools. Maybe being battle-tested will help as Western Wyoming comes into the event with seven wrestlers ranked and very lofty goals this season. Returning All-American Jaxon Cole (125) is one of three wrestlers ranked third in the nation. He’s joined by Sam Freeman at 157 and heavyweight Landon Brown.
NJCAA Ranked Wrestlers/Matchups
#1 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M vs. Itasca
125: #6 Mason Naifeh (NEO)
133: #2 Boo Dryden (NEO)
149: #1 Kendon Lee (NEO)
184: #1 Alex Kauffman (NEO)
197: #1 Zeke Silva (NEO) vs, #4 Corey Schmidt (ICC)
285: #7 Antonio Andrade (NEO)
#8 Labette vs. Triton
125: #1 Dillon Prutch (LCC)
149: #2 Tyree Johnson (Triton)
285: #8 Chris Colvin (Triton)
#5 Barton vs. Muskegon
133: #8 Gage Gomez (Barton)
157: #7 Gable Howerton (Barton)
174: #5 Gage McBride (Barton)
#4 Nassua vs. Joliet
125: #5 Barreiro Jorge (Nassau)
174: #1 Michael Abidin (Nassua)
197: #6 Rodsean Graham (Joliet)
#3 Northwest Kansas Tech vs. Jamestown (N.Y.)
133: #1 Munkbat Bar-Erdene (NWKT)
141: #2 Bat-Erdene Boldmaa (NWKT)
184: #2 Cameron Page (JCC) vs. #6 Charles Small (NWKT)
#6 Harper vs. Spartanburg Methodist
125: #4 Tramon Jenkins (SMC)
165: #1 Michael Foy (Harper)
174: #7 Caleb Spears (SMC)
#7 Rochester vs. Southwestern Oregon
157: #8 Elijah Hollins (Rochester)
174: #2 Shane Siewert (Rochester)
#2 Western Wyoming vs. Cowley
125: #3 Jaxon Cole (WWCC)
133: #5 Joe Revelli (WWCC)
149: #7 Jake Thompson (WWCC)
157: #3 Samuel Freeman (WWCC)
165: #6 Jace Anderson (WWCC)
197: #8 Connor Kirkland (WWCC)
285: #3 Landon Brown (WWCC)
Last year, Campbellsville broke through and ended King’s four-year reign at the top of the women’s division. McKendree, the runners-up the past two seasons, looks poised to become just the sixth women’s program to win a women’s National Duals title. Much like the NAIA where numerous wrestlers from one team can be ranked at a weight class, McKendree brings 15 wrestlers to the event who appear in the most recent Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) rankings. Age-group world medalists Alexis Porter (143) and Alex Glaude (155) are ranked No. 1 as is talented freshman Felicity Taylor at 116 pounds. The top four teams get byes in the 12-team field, so McKendree’s hammers will await the winner of the Southern Oregon-Missouri Valley dual.
Interestingly enough, Southern Oregon and Missouri Valley meet in the opening round of the NAIA portion of the National Duals as well on the men’s side. The dual will feature five ranked wrestlers, four of them from Southern Oregon. Sienna Ramirez is a returning WCWA All-American for SOU, while Missouri Valley’s Shamera McTier comes in ranked ninth at 155 and was accomplished on the age-group levels.
No. 4 Emmanuel will have a first-round bye. The Lions have one of the nation’s most exciting wrestlers in top-ranked Abby Nette at 130 pounds. Cadet World medalist Kayla Marano (143) is a returning All-American, while Hannah Gladden (155) is looking for a breakout season. The Lions will face the winner of the Campbellsville-Nassau dual.
Fifth-seeded Campbellsville, last year’s WCWA and National Duals champions, were hit hard with graduation, but still return All-Americans McKayla Campbell (109), Koral Sugiyama (123), Alexia Foca (155) and Mariah Harris at 170. Nassau, which is still working on building its roster numbers for its fledgling program will struggle in dual meets.
Third-seeded King has been one of the nation’s most successful women’s college programs, putting numerous wrestlers on to U.S. World and Olympic teams. While the Tornado have an opening-round bye, they could make things interesting as they’ll bring 10 ranked wrestlers at seven weights with some depth to bump wrestlers around to create more favorable matchups. Returning All-Americans to watch are second-ranked Nicole Joseph at 136 and Allison Petix at 130.
King will see the winner of the dual between longtime participant and No. 6 seed University of the Cumberlands and first-year Gannon, coached by Cumberlands alum Christen Dierken. The Patriots will be decided favorites against the start-up Golden Knights. Keep an eye on returning All-Americans Kelly-Ann Jimenez and Bridgette Duty at 136 pounds as well as Anna Naylor at 155.
Second-seeded Wayland Baptist has an opening-round bye so the Pioneers will await the winner of the dual between seventh-seeded Life and Lyon. Wayland Baptist brings ranked wrestlers at six weights, including the top-ranked 101 pounders with No. 1 Asia Ray, a Junior world bronze medalist and No. 2 Nina Pham. National champion Brittany Marshall helps secure the upper weights at 170 as does the arrival of Paige Baynes, last year’s national champion at 191 pounds who transferred in from Grays Harbor.
Life has started to become a national player on the women’s wrestling scene. The Running Eagles had three All-Americans last year and have three ranked wrestlers coming into the dual with Lyon. The top individual match there comes at 101 pounds with ninth-ranked Faye Cherrier taking on 10th-ranked Kassidy Ramirez of Lyon.
WCWA Ranked Wrestlers/Matchups
#1 McKendree – BYE
101: #6 Natalie Reyna (McK)
109: #6 Vanessa Ramirez (McK)/#10 Allissa Maldonado (McK)
116: #1 Felicity Taylor (McK)/#6 Theresa Rankin (McK)
123: #10 Alexia Ward (McK)
130: #2 Brenda Reyna (McK)
136: #6 Michelle Camacho (McK)
143: #1 Alexis Porter (McK)
155: #1 Alex Glaude (McK)/#8 Jasmine Bailey (McK)
170: #7 Syndee Kimber (McK)/#8 Kori Bullock (McK)
191: #3 Brandy Lowe (McK)/#6 Destane Garrick (McK)
#8 Southern Oregon vs. Missouri Valley
109: #9 Carol Johnson (SOU)
116: #10 Tara Othman (SOU)
135: #7 Gladdys Palma (SOU)
143: #9 Sienna Ramirez (SOU)
155: #9 Shamera McTier (MVC)
#5 Campbellsville vs. Nassau
109: #3 McKayla Campbell (CU)
123: #9 Koral Sugiyama (CU)
155: #9 Alexia Foca (CU)
170: #4 Mariah Harris (CU)
191: #9 Alexandra Castillo (CU)
#4 Emmanuel – BYE
101: #5 Angelina Gomez (EC)
116: #8 Kasey Baynon (EC)
130: #1 Abby Nette (EC)
143: #4 Kayla Marano (EC)
155: #4 Hannah Gladden (EC)/ #5 Felicity Bryant (EC)
#3 King – BYE
101: #7 Jaclyn McNichols (KU)
116: #5 Makayla Welch (KU)
123: #4 Cheyenne Sisenstein (KU)/#7 Briana Kellin (KU)
130: #7 Alyssa Aceval (KU)/#9 Allison Petix (KU)
136: #2 Nicole Joseph (KU)
143: #3 Ashlynn Ortega (KU)/#5 Ana Luciano (KU)
170: #10 Nia Crosdale (KU)
#6 U. of the Cumberlands vs. Gannon
116: #9 Jessica Rodriguez (UC)
136: #5 Kelly-Ann Jimenez (UC)/#8 Bridgette Duty (UC)
155: #7 Anna Naylor (UC)
191: #10 Jessie Kirby (UC)
#7 Life vs. Lyon
101: #9 Faye Cherrier (Life) vs. #10 Kassidy Ramirez (Lyon)
123: #8 Sierra Powell (Life)
191: #7 Stephanie Pantoja (Life)
#2 Wayland Baptist – BYE
101: #1 Asia Ray (WBU)/#2 Nina Pham (WBU)
109: #4 Rhonda Johnson (WBU)
116: #7 Mayra Ramirez (WBU)
123: #6 Jathiya Isaac-Thomas (WBU)
170: #1 Brittany Marshall (WBU)
191: #1 Paige Baynes (WBU)