NEWBERRY - The Newberry Wolves will take their talents to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the 2018 NCAA Division II National Tournament. Newberry is coming off of a second place finish at the Super Region II Tournament, where four wrestlers qualified to compete at nationals.
Sophomore Austin Neal finished as 125 pounds runner-up at the Super Region tournament in Findlay, Ohio and will hope to succeed in his first national tournament appearance. He has tallied five wins by major decision and went 5-1 in conference play. Neal will have to take on third-ranked Carlos Jacquez of Lindenwood in the first round of competition. Jacquez has posted a 23-1 record this season for the team.
Ninth-ranked Nolan Whitely is no stranger to the national tournament scene, Being Wheeling Jesuits’ first NCAA Division II national qualifier in program history. He was also the teams first back-to-back qualifier. Whitely finished as the runner-up at 133 pounds this past weekend and takes a 28-7 record to nationals.
Whitely faces a loaded bracket in Cedar Rapids, with eight of the other opponents ranked in the top 12 of the weight class.He takes on top-ranked Darius Bunch of West Liberty, who came to the Hilltoppers from Emmanuel College. At Emmanuel, Bunch was a two time NWCA All-American and the NWCA 2016 National Champion.
Isiah Royal, a sophomore from Guyton, Ga. will be making his first appearance on the national stage. Royal posted the third-place finish at 141 pounds in Ohio. He will also compete in a loaded bracket, starting off with Brock Thumm of Chadron State in the first round. Thumm has a 20-8 record on the year, and has wins over third-ranked Brandon Ball of Fort Hays State.
To round out the group was junior Austin Palmer from West Columbia, S.C. Palmer had the best finish for Newberry, with a first-place finish at the Super Region II Tournament. He will take with him an impressive 20-5 record and seven wins by fall. Palmer will start off his tourney run against Zach Voytek of Seton Hill. Voytek captured the fourth-place title at the Super Region II tournament hosted by Pitt Johnstown.