TIFFIN, Ohio - The Newberry Wolves saw one of the nation's top championship streaks come to an end Saturday as they finished third in the team standings at the Super Region II Tournament, but qualified a region-best eight wrestlers for nationals at Tiffin University.
This total put Newberry in third place, breaking a streak of six consecutive regional championships for the scarlet and gray.
Indianapolis earned the regional championship with 125.5 points, while McKendree finished as regional runner-up with 106 points - just half a point ahead of Newberry.
ADVANCING TO NATIONALS
125 lbs. - Jeff Vesta - Second place
Vesta advanced to the regional final in his first bout of the day, earning his 18th pin of the season when he finished off Maryville's Brandon Oshiro just over a minute and a half into the bout. In the championship match, Vesta faced off with Findlay's Ben Sergent and was painfully short of regional champion status, losing 3-2 in double overtime. Vesta still earned his second trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament and fourth national tournament appearance when including his junior college years. The senior will carry a 28-9 season record to Cleveland.
141 lbs. - B.J. Young - Fourth place
Young went 1-2 on the day and became just the fifth Newberry wrestler to advance to the national tournament four times. The senior was pinned at the 4:23 mark of the semifinals by UIndy's Justin Keiffer but rebounded with a 1:21 pin of King's Bryce Killian in the consolation semifinal. Young was then defeated 8-3 in the third place match by Maryville's Darick Lapaglia. Young will carry a 35-6 season record into the national tournament and can take the school record for career victories with three wins in Cleveland.
157 lbs. - Taylor Knapp - Fourth place
Knapp went 1-2 Saturday, but earned his third career trip to nationals. He lost his semifinal bout to Lake Erie's Zak Vargo, 5-3, but punched his ticket to nationals with a 4-1 decision over UIndy's Sheldon Strubble in the consolation semis. He was defeated by Ashland's Kyle Burns 8-3 in the third place match. Knapp will take a 17-12 season record with him to the shores of Lake Erie.
165 lbs. - Blake Ridenour - Fifth place
Ridenour had the toughest road of Newberry's eight qualifiers, as he was unable to clinch his berth until the finals session of the day. He was edged in the semifinals by McKendree Nick Haferkamp, 11-9, in overtime and then was shut out in an 11-0 major decision by Findlay's Bradley Metz in the consolation semifinal. In the crucial fifth place match, the senior earned his second trip to nationals with an 8-4 decision over Wisconsin-Parkside's Nick Fishback. Ridenour takes a 20-6 season record to Cleveland.
174 lbs. - Joe Pittman - Fourth place
Pittman avoided elimination in his first bout of the day before clinching a trip to Cleveland. Pittman's 9-3 decision over UIndy's Shelby Mappes in the consolation quarterfinals put him in position to work his way to Cleveland instead of just trying to stay alive in Tiffin. His 3-1 decision over Limestone's Tanner Saraceno advanced the junior to the third place match and clinched his first-ever trip to the national tournament. Pittman was downed 7-2 in double overtime by Maryville's Zeb Wahle to claim fourth place, but will carry his season record of 24-13 with him to nationals.
184 lbs. - Jared Holliday - Fourth place
Holliday was edged in his championship semifinal bout by Maryville's Nick Burghardt with a 5-2 decision, but bounced back with a 6-0 shutout decision over UWP's Josh Anthony to advance to the third place match and take his first berth to nationals. He was limited to fourth place after an 8-4 loss by decision to Ashland's Bryson Hall but will still head to Public Hall with a 38-10 season record.
197 lbs. - Joey Grisko - Fourth place
Grisko dropped a 10-2 major decision to Ashland's Joe Brandt in the championship semifinal but earned his second consecutive berth to nationals with a 4-3 decision over Davion Willis from Wisconsin-Parkside in the consolation semifinals. Grisko was held to fourth place after a 6-4 loss by decision to Lake Erie's Evan Rosborough, but will still carry a 17-5 season record to Cleveland.
Heavyweight - Matt Wade - Fourth place
Wade entered the tournament as a favorite but found himself in the unfamiliar position of avoiding elimination in his opening match. He did so with his 7-3 decision over Coker's Austin Akins. He followed that up with a 6-3 win by decision over top-seeded Kevin Christmann of Tiffin in the consolation semifinals. He was edged by UIndy's Evan Wooding 3-2 in the third place bout but will still take a 34-7 season mark to his second nationals appearance.