INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Austin Palmer won two big matches to rally for a third place individual finish, while the Newberry Wolves finished in 20th place at the 39th Annual Midwest Classic hosted by the University of Indianapolis on Sunday.
In the semifinals Palmer took on No. 12 Pernevlon Shepperd from University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Both wrestlers scored two points in the second period, including a pair of Palmer escapes, before Shepperd tallied the only point in the third period to take a tight 3-2 win.
With the loss, Palmer moved into the consolation bracket and took on Ashland's Garrett Hall for a chance to finish in the top five. Ashland currently ranks No. 10 in the national rankings. With a strong performance in the third period, Palmer ran away with the 8-4 decision win.
With the third place title on the line, Palmer went up against third-ranked Ryan Strope from nationally-ranked McKendree University. He took a 3-2 decision in the third place match of the 157-pound bracket to give the Wolves two top-seven finishers.
In the ranks with Palmer was teammate Isiah Royal, who finished seventh in the 141-pound class. After winning three straight matches yesterday, Royal returned to the mat to secure a 5-4 decision over No. 10 Danny Swan from Lindenwood. In round five of consolations, Mercyhurst Kevin Kinyua knocked off Royal in a 12-4 major decision victory.
With a chance to finish seventh, Royal rebounded to win his next bout in a 15-0 tech fall win against Rio Zamora from Central Oklahoma.
Nolan Whitley came back today for a vengeance, but was downed in round four of consolations by No. 12 ranked Lawrence Dudgeon from Ashland in a 4-1 decision. Patton Gossett returned to competition today hoping to place in the 285-pound class, but saw his day come to a close with a 7-2 loss to 10th-ranked Deaken McCoy of Ashland.
The Wolves ended their Midwest Classic reign collecting 34 points and finishing 20th. Six of the seven teams competing in the Eastern College Athletic Conference were in attendance at the tournament, with only Limestone finishing ahead of the Wolves in 13th. Newberry edged 21st-placed King by three points and finished well ahead of Coker, Emmanuel, and UNC Pembroke. Only Belmont Abbey did not make the trip to Indianapolis among the ECAC schools.
Wisconsin-Parkside scored 137.0 points to claim the victory in the tournament, with Ashland finishing second and McKendree Sate third.
Newberry will take the Christmas break to prepare for a spring season full of dual matchups. The Wolves will travel to Gunnison, Colo. for the Tracey Borah Duals in early January before hosting Belmont Abbey at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 18.