Springfield shines at Northeast Regional, sends six to NCAA Championships
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Springfield had six student-athletes qualify for the NCAA Championships at this past weekend's Northeast Regional Championships. Tommy Casper, Derek Adams, Joe Grippi, Derrick Longo, Devin Biscaha and Jeremy Burns will all represent the Pride on the national scene.
In the new 18-team format this year, the top-three finishers from each weight class earn an automatic berth in the upcoming championships held March 15-16 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As a team, Springfield had one champion, three runner-ups, two third-place finishers and two fourth-place finishers.
Grippi, who had not wrestled since Jan. 12 at the NWCA National Duals because of an injury, was dominant in his return as he is headed back to nationals for a fourth consecutive year. Ranked No. 1 in the nation at 141 for the majority of the season, Grippi breezed through the competition on Saturday before picking up a 3-0 decision against Wesleyan's Nick Scotto in the semis to lock up a trip to nationals. In the championship, Grippi edged out No. 2 Ces Antista of Williams 2-1.
Burns will be making his first trip to the NCAA's after a strong showing at the regionals as the third seed. After two victories on Saturday, including a major decision, Burns grinded out a 2-0 win against Oneonta's Chad Obzud to advance to the championship. Going up against the nation's top-ranked wrestler at 197, Cortland's Jared Myhrberg, Burns was clipped 3-1 to finish as the regional runner-up.
At 165, top-seeded Longo locked up his consecutive trip to the NCAA's with a second-place finish. Currently ranked fifth in the country, Longo picked up a pair of wins on Saturday before a 10-4 decision in the semifinals moved him onto the title bout. He lost to Roger Williams' Collin Crowell in the championship 13-3.
Adams, who was seeded seventh at 133, powered through the competition, including upsetting second-ranked Alec Dierna of Cortland in his second bout on Saturday. Adams clinched his bid to nationals with a 6-2 win against Wesleyan's Maika Nagata in Sunday's semifinals before losing in the championship match to top-seed and the country's fourth-ranked wrestler, Alex Gomez of Ithaca, 7-3.
After losing his second match on Saturday, fifth-seeded Biscaha reeled off three consecutive wins to advance to the third-place match. He went up against the top seed and nation's sixth-ranked wrestler, Derek Brenon, and picked up a 5-4 decision to pick up a bid to nationals.
Casper put forth a great effort at 125 for his first trip to the NCAA Championships. With two wins on Saturday by pin, Casper, who was seeded fourth, lost to the nation's top-ranked wrestler, Coast Guard's Nathaniel Giorgio, in the semifinals. However, Casper wrestled back with a pair of wins on Sunday, including a 4-3 win in the third-place match versus third-seeded Michael Sugermeyer of RIC.
Mike Fish nearly made it to nationals before falling in the third-place match. After losing in his third match of the competition, he won three matches before falling to WPI's Zach Hartzell 3-2 with a bid to NCAA's on the line.
Classmate Nick Camera also finished fourth in the regionals. Camera took the same path to the third-place match as Fish and had a similar result, dropping a 1-0 decision to Shane Parcel of Roger Williams.