Mayhem ensues in Division II bracket after championship rounds of NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals

Fort Wayne, Indiana – For the second straight year, upsets in Division II have proven the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s nickname for the National Duals to be appropriate.

On Thursday at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Mat Mayhem truly ensued as six of the top seven Division II seeds fell in the first two rounds of the NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals presented by Applied Silver, InBody, Therawox and the United States Marine Corps. The event is hosted by the United Wrestling Group.

WHAT: NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals
WHERE: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Indiana
WHEN: January 4-5
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The semifinals are set in five collegiate divisions. St. Cloud State will face Nebraska-Kearney while Gannon will face Seton Hill in Division II. In Division III, the top four seeds all reached the semifinals as top-seeded Wartburg will face Ithaca, while second-seeded Johnson & Wales will face Augsburg. In the NAIA, fifth-seeded Life and sixth-seeded Williams Baptist shook things up. Life will face top-seeded Grand View in the semifinals, while Williams Baptist will face second-seeded Missouri Valley in the bottom bracket semi.

In the NJCAA, top-seeded Clackamas will face fourth-seeded Iowa Western, while second-seeded Northeastern Oklahoma A&M will face sixth-seeded Western Wyoming. One team that won’t be repeating in 2018 is King on the women’s side. The Tornado were upended in the quarterfinals by fifth-seeded Emmanuel. Top-seeded Campbellsville will face Emmanuel in the top bracket semifinal, while second-seeded McKendree will face third-seeded Wayland Baptist.

The women’s semifinals will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday, with the four men’s divisions wrestling at 11 a.m.

Division II
Leading the upset parade were Gannon, Nebraska-Kearney and Seton Hill in Division II. All three teams were unseeded and all three will compete in Friday’s semifinals. Only top-seeded St. Cloud State, the returning Division II champions, survived.

Coach Steve Costanzo’s Huskies were impressive in advancing to Friday’s semifinals. St. Cloud State opened with a 46-0 victory over Lake Erie College before handling No. 8 seed Indianapolis 32-6. The Huskies will now face unseeded Nebraska-Kearney in the semifinals.

St. Cloud State lost just two individual matches and extended its win streak to 17 in a row and have won 138 out of its last 145 duals dating back to the 2010-11.

For the second year in a row, a pair of unseeded squads will face off in a semifinal. A year ago, it was Wheeling Jesuit upending Colorado State-Pueblo by criteria to reach the final. This year, it’ll be a pair of PSAC schools — Gannon and Seton Hill. Both schools knocked off higher seeded teams in the first round and then prevailed over unseeded teams in the quarterfinals as No. 2, No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7 all lost first round duals in the bottom half of the bracket.

Seton Hill won six of 10 bouts to stun second-seeded Ashland 21-16 in the opening round and then beat Upper Iowa 18-17 in the quarterfinals. Against Ashland, fourth-ranked Alan Diltz majored ninth-ranked Sebastian Vidka to get the Griffins off to a 4-0 start. Ashland tried to rally late, picking up a fall at 184 from Jordan Murphy and a major decision by top-ranked Luke Kramer, but Seton Hill’s Jake Temple picked up a 7-2 win at heavyweight to close out the upset. Against Upper Iowa, the Griffins’ crucial bonus points came from 141-pound Jake Cawoski, who pinned Hunter Slifka at 4:27 to help push Seton Hill into its first National Duals semifinal in school history. Upper Iowa defeated Notre Dame College 19-16  in the opening round, a dual highlighted by top-ranked Kameron Teacher of Notre Dame defeated second-ranked Hopp 7-1 at 285 pounds.

Gannon’s path wasn’t too different than Seton Hill’s. The Golden Knights knocked off third-seeded Cal Baptist 24-13. Gannon won first five weights to jump out to a 21-0 lead and held the Cal Baptist to just one bonus victory in the next four weights. Gannon’s Nick Budd finished off the win at heavyweight with a 7-4 win over Zach Schrader.

The win put Gannon in position to face last year’s Cinderella, Wheeling Jesuit, which opened up with a first-round upset over CSU-Pueblo 20-18. Three straight wins by Nick Costa, Ethan Budd and Nick Budd broke a 15-15 tie and gave Gannon the 27-15 victory. One key point in the dual came at 197 pounds where Ethan Budd earned an injury default victory over 12th-ranked Sawyer Leppla of Wheeling Jesuit.

Gannon coach Don Henry also picked up coaching victory No. 200 in the process.

Nebraska-Kearney, two-time champions of the event, upended No. 5 Pitt-Johnstown 25-19 in the opening round before knocking off No. 4 McKendree 23-11 in the quarterfinals. Against Pitt-Johnstown, bonus points were the difference as the Lopers earned two majors, a technical fall and two pins en route to the victory. Returning 149-pound Division II national champion Keith Surber registered a 10-second fall while Bryce Shoemaker, a past NAIA national champion while at Baker, earned a technical fall at 133 pounds.

Against McKendree, wins by Matt Malcolm at 157 pounds, Trey Schlender at 197 and Jarrod Hinrichs at 285 pounds were key for Nebraska-Kearney. Malcolm topped fifth-ranked Ryan Strope 3-2, while wins at the two heaviest weights enabled the Lopers to pull away.

Division III
While Division II was all over the place, Division III was pretty much business as usual as the only two schools to ever win the Division III National Duals cruised into the semifinals. Midwestern juggernauts Wartburg and Augsburg will face off with two of the top programs from the east in the semifinals — Ithaca and Johnson & Wales.

Wartburg, looking to claim the school’s 12th National Duals title and eighth in a row, lost two individual matches as the Knights rolled past Olivet 46-3 and conference rival Coe 42-4. Coe reached the quarterfinals after upending eighth-seeded Ferrum 37-6. The Knights will face Marty Nichols’ Ithaca Bombers, who topped Centenary 34-4 before sweeping the last seven weights to defeat UW-Whitewater 31-10.

Second-seeded Johnson & Wales spent one cycle atop the NCAA Division III Coaches Association rankings in December. Lonnie Morris’ squad will have to get past Augsburg before they can think about bringing the duals title back to Rhode Island. After beating Millikin 34-9, the Wildcats then build a big lead against No. 7 seed Baldwin Wallace and came away with a 20-13 win.

Augsburg lost one individual match on the day. The Auggies, seeded third, shut out Corland State 53-0 to start the day before they topped North Central 34-6.

While there weren’t too many dual outcomes that would shake up the rankings, there were a handful individually across the board. At 125 pounds, UW-La Crosse’s Zach Villarreal continued his impressive freshman season, knocking off Baldwin Wallace’s Chris Doyle 15-12. A round later, it was Doyle who would pick up a big win, topping All-American Bobby Jordan of Johnson & Wales 4-1.  Johnson & Wales did get a chance to pick off one big gun as Joao Vicente built a 10-5 lead over top-ranked Chris Williams of Millikin before Williams was forced to injury default.

NAIA
Grand View’s quest to capture a seventh straight NAIA National Duals title has gone pretty much according to plan. Coach Nick Mitchell’s team has lost three individual bouts on the day after opening up with a 49-4 win over William Penn and a 36-9 win over Lindsey Wilson. National champions Josh Wenger (149), Grant Henderson (165), Evan Hansen (197) and Dean Brorghammer (285) went a combined 7-0 while Grand View’s squad earned 13 bonus victories.

A familiar face will be across the mat in the semifinals as No. 5 Life University upended No. 4 University of the Cumberlands 19-16 in the quarters. Life is coached by past Grand View national champion Omi Acosta.

The Running Eagles fell behind early against the Patriots’ stout lower weights, but they would win five of the last six to advance. A key bout came at 197 pounds where top-ranked Dalton Bailey fell behind 6-2 early and rallied for an 8-6 win to set up Brandon Hill’s 6-4 win at 285 to clinch the dual.

In the bottom half, Williams Baptist snuck into the semifinals for the first time in school history. Under first-year coach Todd Allen, the Eagles fell behind early but closed out a 30-17 over Indiana Tech win with three straight falls at 184, 197 and 285. The feat made more impressive as they were without the services of returning NAIA heavyweight champion Demetrius Thomas.

Second-seeded Missouri Valley will await Williams Baptist in Friday’s semifinal. Coach Mike Maccholz’s squad opened up with a 43-3 win over Jamestown before moving into the semifinals with a 22-13 win over the University of Providence (Mont.). A pair of ranked head-to-heads went the way of Missouri Valley at 197 and 285 as fourth-ranked Donavan Fouchey and fifth-ranked Jesse Gomez earned decisions to clinch the semifinal berth for Missouri Valley.

NJCAA
Clackamas Community College looked sharp after two wins to reach the semifinals. The Cougars topped Triton 51-6 and Northwest Kansas Tech 50-2. Among the 18 wins on the day by Clackamas, the biggest came at 285 pounds where Darryl Aiello pinned top-ranked Odgerel Batkhishig of Northwest Tech in 39 seconds. Clackamas will face Iowa Western in the semifinals. The Reivers earned a 22-21 victory over Rochester in the quarterfinals. After Rochester’s fourth-ranked Mason Hawkins beat fifth-ranked Seth Ham 3-2 at 197 pounds, it set up a winner-take-all match at 285 with Rochester’s eighth-ranked Luis Pinto and unranked Andrew Pistillo. A quick sweep single in sudden victory would decide it as Pistillo claimed the match and dual winning takedown.

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M crushed Colby Community College 54-0 and Southwestern Oregon 42-3 to reach the semifinals. The Golden Norsemen will face Western Wyoming, another No. 6 seed to reach the semifinals. Western Wyoming opened up with a 30-18 win over first-time participant Barton before topping Harper College 33-16. Harper upset Iowa Lakes in the first round.

WCWA
King’s four-year run as National Duals champions came to an abrupt end on Thursday as the Tornado fell 29-15 to Emmanuel. One of the key bouts there saw a pair of two-time WCWA champions meet. King’s Marina Doi bumped up to 109 to face Cody Pfau, a two-time WCWA champion who previously wrestled at Oklahoma City. After a 2-2 first period, Pfau finished off Doi with a fall at 4:15. Emmanuel built a 20-3 lead after five bouts. Kayla Marano’s win at 143 iced the win for the Lions.

Emmanuel opened up with a 33-11 win over Missouri Valley, currently the longest-tenured women’s college wrestling program in the country.

Top-seeded Campbellsville will face Emmanuel. The Tigers topped the University of the Cumberlands 37-9. After dropping two of the first three bouts, Campbellsville’s Steffanie Hampton and Norwegian native Grace Bullen registered back-to-back falls at 123 and 130 to start the parade of seven straight wins to close out the dual.
Second-seeded McKendree was dominant in a 43-1 win over Eastern Oregon, which was coming off an upset win over Oklahoma City in the previous round. McKendree swept all 10 matches and gave up only two points in the entire dual. Alexis Porter and Janelle Fuamatu each earned falls for the Bearcats.

McKendree will face Wayland Baptist, which defeated Grays Harbor College 30-13 in the other bottom bracket quarterfinal. The Pioneers got started quickly, earning four technical superiority wins in the first five matches, ignited by Junior world medalist Asia Ray at 101 pounds.

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