INDIANAPOLIS — The Newberry College wrestling team holds a commanding lead after the opening day of action at the 34th annual Midwest Classic hosted by the University of Indianapolis.
Six of Newberry’s 10 wrestlers have advanced to Sunday’s championship semifinals, while another three are still alive in the consolation brackets.
The Wolves - who were ranked the No. 1 in Division II by the Basford poll earlier this week - have 100 points, while Upper Iowa is in wecond with 81.5, Findlay is third with 71, Ashland is fourth with 56.5 and Ohio Northern is fifth with 50.
Jeff Vesta (Manhattan, Kan.) at 125-pounds advanced to the semifinals with a 4-0 decision over UNC Pembroke’s Jake Smith and a 1:47 pin of Ohio Northern’s Jerome Pasquale. He will face Findlay’s Ben Sergent in the semifinals in a rematch of a Newberry Duals bout, which Vesta won in the second sudden victotry period.
B.J. Young (Jackson, N.J.) is in the 141-pounds semifinals after a pair of bonus point wins with a 1:58 pin of Manchester’s Josh Juarez and a 13-5 major decision over Joey White of Findlay. He faces Maryville (Mo.)’s Tyrell Galloway in the semifinals.
Deral Brown (Elgin.) advanced to the semifinals of the 149-pound bracket with a roll of major decisions, winning 18-9 over McKendree’s Devin Patterson, 14-2 over Ashland’s Jacob Garringer and 10-2 over Jeremiah Lutz of Brewton-Parker. Brown goes against Upper Iowa’s Jordan Rinken in the semifinals.
Taylor Knapp (Lawrenceville, Ga.) is in the 157-pound semifinals after a 2:01 pin of Findlay’s Jordan Cowell, a 3-0 decision over Ohio Valley’s Tyler George and a 12-7 decision over Indiana Tech’s James Bennett. He goes against Upper Iowa’s Bryce Lumzy in the semifinals.
Travis Sheehy (Suwanee, Ga.) at 174-pounds advanced to the semifinals with a 4-1 decision over McKendree’s Luis Alba and a 2:32 pin of Indiana Tech’s Tanner Martin. He faces No. 1 Mike Williams of UNC Pembroke in one of the most anticipated semifinals of the day.
At 184-pounds, Mitch Brown (Omaha, Neb.) advanced to the semifinals with a 33 second pin of Manchester’s Zach Kurtz, a 6-2 decision over Maryville’s Ryan Beltz and a 4-0 decision over Nolan Karwoski of Mount St. Joseph. His semifinal opponent will be Northern State’s Chad Gibson.
Three other wrestlers are still alive in the consolation brackets, including national wrestler of the week Blake Ridenour (Maryville, Tenn.) at 165-pounds. Ridenour pinned Tiffin’s Nick Hughes at the 6:34 mark and earned a 6-0 decision over Cory Disbennett of Mount St. Joseph, but was pinned by McKendree’s Nick Haferkamp to drop into the consolation bracket. Ridenour earned an 18-1 technical fall over Western State Colorado’s Shawn Seppala to advance into the placement rounds, where he will first face Ohio Northern’s Tyler Gargano.
At 197-pounds, Joey Grisko (Gloucester Township, N.J.) won his first bout of the day with a 2:13 pin of Ohio Valley’s Chase Long, but dropped his quarterfinal match 3-1 in the sudden victory period to Matt Baker of Maryville. He took an 8-4 decision over Findlay’s Ashton Brown to advance to the placement rounds, where he will have a rematch with OVU’s Chase Long.
In the heavyweight bracket, Chase Gamble (Dallas, N.C.) made it to the quarterfinals with a 6-1 decision over Jimmie King of Manchester and a 3:17 pin of Kevin Christman from Tiffin, but was a hard luck 2-0 loser to Ross Janney of McKendree in the quarterfinals. He pinned Limestone’s Aaron Rowe in just 2:06 to advance to the placement rounds, where he will first face off against West Liberty’s Mike Carpenter.
The only wrestler eliminated Saturday was Nick Lankford (Braselton, Ga.) at 133 lbs., who went 2-2 on the day with a pair of pinfalls to his credit. He pinned Brewton-Parker’s Nick Armstrong in 3:55 before being dropped to the consolation bracket with a 12-5 decision loss to Limestone’s Ross Benzel. He then pinned Trine’s Nick Ader in 1:45, but dropped a tough 3-2 decision to Campbellsville’s Tyler Alsip to see his tournament come to an end.