DII Wrestling Notebook: Law strengthens Pitt.-Johnstown's lineup
Pittsburgh-Johnstown finished fourth at the 2016 NCAA tournament. The majority of that team returns this season, including national champions Nick Roberts (133) and Tyler Reinhart (165). Head coach Pat Pecora welcomed another heavy hitter, transfer Cody Law from Penn State, last January, and the 157-pounder is, as expected, making an impact.
At the PSAC Championships last Saturday at Lock Haven, Law, a native of Forrest Hills, Pa., had a pair of technical falls and beat Edinboro’s Chase Delande, 8-2, in the finals. Law hoped to compete during the spring of 2016, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible after competing for PSU during the fall in 2015.
Five Wrestlers Place in top-5 at PSAC Championships— PittJohnstownSports (@MtnCatAthletics) December 11, 2016
Cody Law Wins Title, Tyler Reinhart Runner-up
“I still have two more national championships to win. I'll take two,” said Law last February. “I’m going to keep getting better myself. I have a chance to now not worry about my weight, just wrestling people and making everyone better. There’s still positives.”
Another DI transfer, Nebraska-Kearney’s Destin McCauley, who started his career at Nebraska in Lincoln, will be the top-ranked 157-pounder entering January. Who finishes at the top of the podium remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Pittsburg-Johnstown is 6-0 in duals entering the Midwest Classic in Indianapolis this weekend. Ranked a surprising ninth in the latest DII poll, the Mountain Cats will certainly factor into the conversation over the next three months.
Eight of the 12 participants at the PSACs represented Division II programs. Division I Edinboro continued its dominance of the event, winning a sixth straight title. As usual, Pennsylvania’s best DII squads got in plenty of shots against their PSAC brethren. Reinhart advanced to the 165-pound final but lost in an overtime tiebreaker to Clarion’s Evan Delong, who edged Mercyhurst’s Francis Mizia in the semifinals.
East Stroudberg’s Evan Ramos won the 197-pound title, while Mercyhurst’s Willie Bohince (125), Gannon’s Carmine Ciotti (133) and Seton Hill’s Joey Alessandro (141) each lost in final matches. Alessandro, a DII finalist as a freshman, won a wild 13-12 match with Edinboro’s Ozzy Lugo in the semifinals.
Left, right, left
Central Oklahoma 125-pounder Josh Lindsey is not your ordinary redshirt-freshman. The 22-year-old served in the U.S. Army and attended NAIA Oklahoma City University for the 2013-14 school year. Last season, his focus was on becoming a police officer. Last weekend, he continued his impressive first-semester run in Kansas and went 4-0 to claim top honors at the Jet Invitational. In the finals, Lindsey beat Newman All-American Dustin Reed.
On Monday, the Moore, Okla., native was named the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Wrestler of the Week.
“Josh is a great representative of our program,” said UCO first-year head coach Todd Steidley. “I’m happy for him that he earned this because he truly deserves it. The way he handles himself in and out of the wrestling room, he’s a really good kid, and he really does deserve this.”
Lindsey is 18-4 with seven pins, two technical falls and two major decisions. The Jet title was his third tournament championship of the season.
This weekend is the 38th Midwest Classic, hosted by Indianapolis. Thirty-nine teams across NAIA and DII will hit the mats. Among those from DII participating Saturday and Sunday are 17 members of DII’s top 25, including Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Maryville (Mo.), Upper Iowa, Mercyhurst (Pa.), Newberry (S.C.), McKendree (Ill.), Indianapolis and Tiffin (Ohio) just to name a few. It should be considered a preview to the NWCA National Duals coming in January.
With Romero Cotton of Nebraska-Kearney vacating 197 pounds, four veterans with big credentials lead the pack heading toward the holidays.
Northern State’s Joe Gomez, a senior, lost to Cotton in the 2016 NCAA final and was 30-4 as a junior. The Washington native was 28-12 as a sophomore and earned a top eight medal.
Notre Dame College’s Garrett Lineberger won a national title at 184 pounds in 2014 and was fifth at 197 pounds in 2016.
California-Baptist’s Jacob Waste, a senior and native of Minnesota who started his career at DI Buffalo, was third at 184 pounds last March and fifth at the same weight class in 2015.
Fort Hays State senior Jon Inman completes the foursome. The Missouri native has won 75 matches the last two seasons, going 38-4 and finishing fifth at the national tournament.
Another senior to keep an eye on at 197 pounds might be Lake Erie’s Evan Rosborough, who an All-American back in 2014 as a freshman.
Top-ranked St. Cloud State had four champions – five if you count the double forfeit at 197 pounds – at the annual Husky Open last Saturday. Brett Velasquez (125), Jarred Oftedahl (133), Larry Bomstad (157) and Austin Goergen (285) each claimed titles, Goergen with three pins and a major decision. Clayton Jennissen lost a 4-2 decision to Minnesota-Mankato’s Adam Cooling in the 174-pound final, a battle of All-Americans from 2016.
Lindenwood (Mo.) nearly gave first-year head coach Jimmy Rollins a big home-opening dual win, but Indianapolis, ranked eighth at the time, rallied for a 19-17 victory when Brody Conner (197) and Dylan Faulkenberg (285) earned back-to-back decisions.
A trio of DII squads will wrestle at the Reno Tournament of Champions this Sunday – Simon Fraser, Colorado State-Pueblo, and Colorado-Mesa. The two top-ranked teams in Division I, Oklahoma State and Penn State, are expected to send wrestlers to the one-day tournament.
Augustana (S.D.) junior 184-pounder Aero Amo went 4-0 last Saturday at the Augie Duals, including a dominating 15-3 win over Nebraska-Kearney’s Zach Stodden.
“(Amo is) starting to open up and hit more shots to get his offense going,” Augustana head coach Jason Reitmeier said. “We need him to start creating a few more angles here and there. But he’s a beast on top.”
Amo, ranked second, is 14-3 and has won 11-straight matches. He was 32-3 a year ago.