PEMBROKE, N.C. – Newberry earned the Super Regional I championship for the fifth consecutive season with 131 team points, sending seven wrestlers to the 2012 Division II Championship.
The Wolves cruised to the team title with eight of 10 wrestlers finishing in the top five including three individual champions — BJ Young at 141 pounds, Travis Sheehy at 174 pounds and Jake Elkins at heavyweight. The national tournament takes place on March 10-11 at CSU-Pueblo in Pueblo, Colo.
|SUPER REGION I|
|Final Team Standings|
Young had one of the most dominant runs of the tournament. After two bonus point wins Friday, he notched a first period pinfall against fifth-seed Aaron Smith of American International in the semifinals. In the championship bout, Young battled to a 3-2 win by decision against UNC Pembroke’s sixth-seeded Daniel Ownbey to claim his first region title and advance to the NCAA meet for the second time. He was the 2011 national runner-up at 133 pounds.
Sheehy cruised to the semifinals with a bye and a quarterfinal minute pin. In the semifinals, he earned a 13-5 major decision against fifth-seeded Matt Littleton of West Liberty. His 11-4 win by decision against sixth-seeded Brendan McKeown of East Stroudsburg gave the UNC Greensboro his first regional championship and first Championship appearance.
Elkins had two bonus-point wins on Friday night and went to the finals with a first period pinfall against American International’s Matt Pringle. In the championship bout, Elkins claimed his first regional title with a 2-1 decision against Mercyhurst’s Fred Hale. Elkins advances to his second national tournament after claiming All-American honors with a seventh-place national finish in 2011.
Matt Oliver qualified for his fourth career Championship appearance with a regional runner-up performance at 133 pounds. Oliver advanced to the championship match with a 5-3 win by decision in the first tiebreak period vs. fifth-seeded Kody Young of Mercyhurst. He dropped a 9-5 decision to second-seeded Evan Yenelovich of Kutztown in the championship match. Oliver qualified for his previous national tournaments at 125 pounds, finishing in third place in 2009.
Jon Cronin qualified for his first career NCAA Championship appearance with a third-place finish at 125 pounds. The senior started the day with a 3:30 pinfall against Anderson’s Cory Monteforte and then squeaked out an 11-9 decision vs. sixth-seeded Desmond Moore of Kutztown to advance to the third-place match. He wasted little time earning his nationals berth, pinning third-seeded Ryan Bohince of Mercyhurst in just 2:54.
Zach Anderson had a tougher road to Pueblo. The third-seeded wrestler at 197 pounds lost to UNC Pembroke’s second-seeded Shane Nolan by a 3-1 sudden victory in the championship semifinals. In the wrestleback bracket, he earned a 4-2 decision vs. fifth-seeded Michael Pollard of Mercyhurst to advance to the third-place bout. He earned his second career NCAA Championship berth with a 2-1 decision in the second tiebreaker period vs. fourth-seeded Jon Moore of Pitt-Johnstown. Anderson previously qualified for the national tournament in 2009 as a wrestler at Anderson University.
Taylor Knapp advanced to his first NCAA meet with a fourth-place finish at 157 pounds. He fell out of the championship bracket with a 4-3 loss by decision to sixth-seeded Braden Turner of East Stroudsburg. He advanced to the third-place bout with a 12-1 major decision vs. fifth-seeded Bionojel Candelaria of Kutztown, but was pinned in the second period at the hands of Pitt-Johnstown’s Zach Lundgren.
Deral Brown saw his magical season come to an end with a fifth-place finish. Sean Byrnes saw his shot at a third consecutive national tournament appearance, this time at 165 pounds, cut short with a 7-2 loss by decision Robert Blotzer of Gannon.
Mitch Brown at 184 pounds had a tough test in his elimination match, and was defeated by second-seeded Zach Benzio of Seton Hill to see his tournament run come to an end.