College wrestling: Division II Super Regions by the numbers
It is time for the postseason in Division II. Four Super Regions hit the mats this weekend with the top four finishers at each weight class qualifying for the NCAA Division II Championships in Sioux Falls, S.D., March 11-12. Ten weight classes will have 160 wrestlers qualified by the end of the weekend.
What follows is a by-the-numbers look at each region.
Super Region I ― Erie, Pa.
2 ― NCAA team titles for Pittsburgh-Johnstown (1996 and 1999).
3 ― Number of teams ranked inside the top 7 entering the postseason: Notre Dame College (1), Pittsburgh-Johnstown (3), and Mercyhurst (7).
3 ― National champions in NDC’s lineup: Jonatan Rivera (157), Joey Davis (184), Garrett Lineberger (197).
3 ― Number of NCAA titles NDC’s Joey Davis has won.
8 ― Technical falls for Mercyhurst 165-pounder Francis Mizia, tops in DII.
12 ― Pins this season for Pittsburgh-Johnstown’s Travis McKillop, second among DII wrestlers.
123 ― Career wins for Davis against zero defeats.
Super Region II ― Indianapolis, Ind.
0 – Losses for Wisconsin-Parkside 174-pounder Nick Becker.
1 – Team ranked in the top 10. Wisconsin-Parkside enters the postseason ranked sixth.
3 ― Number of wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the country. Becker is joined by Findlay’s Nick Goebel (149) and Tiffin’s Garrett Gray (285).
6 ― All-Americans combined in the 149 and 197 pounds brackets. Goebel, Tiffin’s Mike Screptock, and Ashland’s Brent Fickel are expected to go at 149 with Jake Cramer (Tiffin), Joe Brandt (Ashland), and Evan Rosborough (Lake Erie) each involved at 197.
8 ― National champions for Findlay, the most among teams in Region II.
10 ― Pins for top-ranked heavyweight Garrett Grey of Tiffin.
Super Region III ― Sioux Falls, S.D.
1 – Number of NCAA individual champions in the field. St. Cloud State’s Tim Prescott won the 125-pound title last March.
2 – NCAA team titles won by Region III teams. St. Cloud State won last season in St. Louis and Minnesota State-Mankato in 1965 at a tournament hosted by Colorado Mines.
4 – Number of teams ranked inside the top 10 in the last DII Coaches Poll: No.2 St. Cloud State, No. 4 Maryville, No. 8 Upper Iowa, and No. 10 Lindenwood (Mo.).
6 – Number of NCAA qualifiers for St. Cloud State in 2015. All six earned All-America honors.
7 – Number of NCAA team titles Maryville’s Mike Denney won while coaching Nebraska-Omaha.
15 – Teams in the field.
21 – Number of NCAA champions for Minnesota State-Mankato, seventh among DII programs.
Super Region IV ― Gunnison, Colo.
4 – Combined NCAA titles won by Nebraska-Kearney’s Daniel DeShazer and Romero Cotton. Both seniors start their quest for three championships this weekend.
11 – Wrestlers ranked inside the top five at their respective weight classes.
13 – Number of NCAA team titles between Central Oklahoma (7), UNK (3), Western State (2), and San Francisco State (1).
13― Number of pins for Western State 125-pounder Ronald Wardleigh, tops in DII.
14 – Teams in Gunnison led by No. 5 Nebraska-Kearney, No. 9 Colorado Baptist, No. 11 Colorado Mesa, No. 14 Western State (Colo.), and No. 18 Central Oklahoma.
39 – Number of individual NCAA championships Central Oklahoma wrestlers have won, first among DII programs.
Power Rankings, Week 14 reboot
1. Notre Dame College (Ohio): The Falcons beat Maryville (Mo.) for the second time this season and finished the dual campaign as the only unbeaten in Division II. NDC also owns a dual win over No. 2 St. Cloud State and enters tournament time with a powerful lineup that includes five wrestlers ranked inside the top six at their respective weight classes. Jon Rivera (157), Joey Davis (184), and Garrett Lineberger (197) already own NCAA titles. Pittsburgh-Johnstown and Mercyhurst will compete with the top dog in Erie, Pa., at this weekend’s Super Region I.
2. St. Cloud State: The Huskies’ only loss came at the hands of NDC. Five SCSU wrestlers are among the top six with sophomore Larry Bomstad making plenty of noise at 157 pounds after earning All-America honors as a freshman last March. Tim Prescott (125), Clint Poster (165), and Austin Goergen (285) are all title threats, Prescott winning a title last season. The 2015 team champions probably should not be considered an underdog heading into March. SCSU and Maryville lead the pack in Super Region III at the same site as the 2016 NCAA Championships.
3. Pittsburgh-Johnstown: Veteran head coach Pat Pecora led the Mountain Cats to national titles in 1996 and 1999. His 2015-16 version is certainly capable of making a run with senior Travis McKillop (184), Evan Link (125), and DJ Simms (285) leading the way. All-American John Blankenship (174) should not be discounted. UPJ was a disappointing 31st at last season’s NCAA meet, but enters the postseason with momentum after beating rival Mercyhurst to finish the dual campaign.
4. Nebraska-Kearney: The Lopers rolled to another MIAA title, crowning six champions in their last outing before a trip to Gunnison, Colo., and Super Region III. UNK is poised to make another run with Daniel DeShazer (133), Keith Surber (141), Destin McCauley (149), Chase White (157), and Romero Cotton (197) each capable of major points in Sioux Falls. Throw in All-American Devin Aguirre (174) and Marc Bauer has a tough bunch.
5. Maryville (Mo.): On paper it is hard to imagine the Saints not being favored heading into the last month of the season. Maryville has nine All-Americans to choose from, but injuries have derailed Mike Denney’s group the second half of the season. Seven Saints are ranked among the top six, giving the preseason favorites plenty to be excited about. Time off to heal wounds may help MU in Super Region III.
6. Wisconsin-Parkside: Unranked and coming off a 33rd place finish at the 2015 NCAAs, UW-P head coach Gregg Lewis and Co. had something to prove. Nick Becker is 33-0 and ranked No. 1 at 174 pounds with All-American Ronzel Darling (23-2 at 125), Nick Fishback (28-3 at 165), and Montrail Johnson (25-4 at 197) all having great seasons. If there is a darkhorse entering regional competition, it might be the Rangers if they can shake off the rust they have acquired in much of February.
7. California Baptist: An early win over Mercyhurst propelled the Lancers into the national conversation. CBU has stayed there all year and has heavyweight Joe Fagiano, All-American Jacob Waste (184), and others ready to improve on last season’s 30th-place finish. Getting through a balanced Super Region IV is the next test for the Lancers.
8. Mercyhurst (Pa.): Despite a dual loss to Pittsburgh-Johnstown to finish 11-4, the Lakers may be a better tournament team with Francis and August Mizia, Jeremy Landowski (149), and Willie Bohince (125) each capable of earning a medal in Sioux Falls. Like UW-P, Mercyhurst might be a darkhorse entering March. They finished three points behind Maryville at the 2015 NCAA meet.
Knocking on the door: Upper Iowa, Lindenwood (Mo.), Minnesota State-Mankato, Colorado Mesa, Wheeling Jesuit (W.V.), Augustana (S.D.), Central Oklahoma