Four Wolves advance to NCAA Championships

Four Wolves advance to NCAA Championships
Saturday, February 24, 2018 | by Janay Boone, Athletic Communications Assistant

FINDLAY, OHIO - Austin Neal, Nolan Whitely, Isiah Royal and Austin Palmer will each represent Newberry at the 2018 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids next month.

The four wrestlers each finished in the top four of their respective weight classes in the Super Region 2 tournament in Findlay this weekend to earn their spot into the national championship. Newberry would finish second amongst 13 participants and turn in 93 points. 

Royal may have had the toughest battle to secure the third place finish at 141 pounds and punch his ticket to Cedar Rapids. The sophomore battled through the consolation bracket after dropping in the semifinals to Nick Crume of University of Indianapolis.

He started the day off with a loss to Crume, who entered the weekend ranked fifth in the nation at 141 pounds. With the 8-2 fall, Royal moved into the consolation semifinals to take on Sean O’Hearon of Lake Erie. He wasted no time, gaining control over his opponents and winning by fall in an astounding 46 seconds.

Royal was then set to wrestle against Bryan LaVearn of Tiffin, who he defeated in the quarterfinals, 12-11. However, this would be the third meeting between the two this season. They met at the Region Duals back in January and LaVearn came out with the 15-10 victory. Royal would have a strong third period showing to seal his fate and capture the third place finish.

Neal and Whitely had similar outcomes, but different paths to get their second place finish. Neal started off his  day two run with an 11-9 edge over Sebastian Vidika of Ashland. With the first place finish on the line, Neal would compete in a rematch with Blake Glogouski of Lake Erie. After finishing the first period strong, Neal would not be able to catch. Despite the loss, the sophomore will be taking a trip to nationals come March.

Whitely, who came to Newberry very decorated with national appearances at Wheeling Jesuit, would continue his streak with the Wolves. He would go head-to-head with Airk Furseth of University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Whitely and Furseth have a history that dates back to the Midwest Classic held in December. With a lead in the third period, Whitely would not be able to hold on and would lose by fall with a time of 4:16. 

Palmer, the junior from West Columbia, S.C. may have had the best finish of the Wolves on the day. He would be able to snag the first place finish at 157 pounds and earn a trip to the National Champion. Palmer would face off against Eric Milks of UNC Pembroke in the semifinals. Although the last time the two competed it went down to the end, Palmer had the upper hand. He would win by fall in a quick and efficient 30 seconds. At the end of the race with him was Pernevlon Sheppard of Wisconsin-Parkside. The two are no strangers of each other, facing off at the Midwest Classic. After being deadlocked at 2-2 at the start of the third period, Palmer would record two takedowns and a four-nearfall to capture the 10-4 win.

Several other Wolves had impressive showings that fell just shy of a trip to Cedar Rapids. Tyler Wicken lost in the fourth place match at 149 pounds, while Patton Gossett finished in fifth place at 285 pounds. Joey Rocca would turn in a sixth-place honor.

The 2018 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships will be held at the U.S. Cellular Center on Mar 9-10.