BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Three Newberry wrestlers advanced to compete at the NCAA Division II National Wrestling Championships in Birmingham as part of the Division II National Championships Festival. Trung Duong will move on to Saturday’s competitions and is an All-American, while Huston Evans and Cody Brundage saw their runs draw to a close on Saturday evening.
Trung Duong (125 pounds) – 2-1 (Reached Consolation Quarterfinals)
Duong carried a gaudy 24-4 record and a No. 11 national ranking into the championship event. He began the day by squaring off against Allen Diltz, a Seton Hill freshman ranked fifth in the nation. Neither wrestler was able to put points on the board through the first two-and-a-half minutes of action. Diltz was able to get the match’s first takedown, however, and pin Duong for a win by fall in 2:37.
Undeterred, Duong rebounded to triumph in his next two bouts in the consolation bracket. He faced 10th-ranked Joshua Lindsey of Central Oklahoma and greeted Lindsey with a takedown 40 seconds into the first period. Lindsey responded with a takedown of his own to knot the bout at three after both wrestlers escaped, but Duong earned another two points with 15 seconds to go in the period to enter the second ahead 5-3.
A flurry of activity in the second period ended with another takedown by Duong, this time with 14 seconds remaining, to stretch his lead to 10-6. He cruised to an eventual 14-7 decision to advance to face Upper Iowa’s Maleek Williams.
Duong and Williams battled through a high-scoring first period that left the Newberry senior ahead 7-3. Another takedown upped the lead to six points before Duong again coasted to a win, this time an 11-3 major decision, to secure All-American status for the second consecutive year.
His day will begin at 11:00 a.m. Saturday in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket. His opponent is Darek Huff, an Adams State sophomore currently ranked No. 9 in the nation.
Huston Evans (174 pounds) – 1-2 (Eliminated)
Evans came to Birmingham ranked sixth nationally and carrying a 23-7 record but was unable to advance to the final day of competition.
His difficult draw began with a first-round matchup against No. 11 Dalton George of Ohio Valley. The grapplers fought through a scoreless first period before Evans chose the bottom to begin the second. George maintained control throughout the bulk of the period, however, before Evans took a 1-0 lead with a late escape.
Evans was able to shave 20 seconds off George’s riding time advantage in the final period and nearly scored a crucial takedown with 49 seconds remaining, but video review confirmed the initial call that the wrestlers were out of bounds just prior to the takedown. The riding time point sealed George’s 2-1 decision.
Evans needed 50 seconds to secure his first takedown on St. Cloud State’s Clayton Jennissen, who entered the match ranked No. 7 nationally. His advantage ballooned to 8-3 and included a four-point nearfall before the period drew to a close. Jennissen battled back with five points in the second period to cut his deficit to 9-8, but Evans earned an escape with 50 seconds to go and held on for a high-scoring 13-11 win.
He then drew Nolan Kistler of California Baptist. The nation’s fourth-ranked wrestler earned the first takedown of the match in the first period, then completed a win by fall in 4:09 to eliminate Evans from contention.
Cody Brundage (197 pounds) – 1-2 (Eliminated)
Brundage was the only Newberry wrestler to win his opening bout and advance into the championship bracket, but was twice defeated following his opening win.
Brundage faced No. 4 Ben Goodwin of Augustana in the opening round and eked out a tight 3-2 decision. Brundage entered the second period ahead 2-1 after an early takedown and selected the bottom to begin the third period with the score knotted at two. His escape point three seconds into the final period proved to be the difference in a 3-2 decision.
His second-round opponent was second-ranked Jon Inman of Fort Hays State. He took an early lead with a takedown 25 seconds in and held a 2-1 advantage at the end of three minutes. The match entered the third period once again knotted at two, but Inman took a 4-3 lead midway through with a takedown. He held on for a 5-3 win with the riding time point to hand Brundage his first loss.
Ninth-ranked Joe Gomez was his opponent in the next round. Gomez earned the first takedown inside the final 10 seconds of the second period to make the score 3-0. Brundage closed the gap to 3-1 and made an attempt at the takedown with 17 seconds to go, but was unable to complete the move. Gomez held on for the 3-1 decision.