INDIANAPOLIS — The brackets for the 2013 NCAA Division II National Wrestling Championships have been released, showing Newberry College’s eight representatives the road they must take to become national champions.
The Championships will be part of the NCAA Division II Winter Championships Festival in Birmingham, Ala., on March 8 and March 9 at the Crossplex Arena.
Newberry is coming off of its sixth consecutive Super Region I championship last weekend and will be considered one of the top contenders for the national title with eight wrestlers representing the scarlet and gray in Birmingham. Central Oklahoma, Nebraska-Kearney, Notre Dame (Ohio) and St. Cloud State are each sending nine wrestlers to nationals, with Newberry sending eight and Pitt-Johnstown sending seven.
At 125-pounds, Jeff Vesta enters the national tournament with a 34-7 record after finishing fourth at the Super Region I Tournament. His first round opponent is Ashland’s Max Byrd (25-4). The pair have not met this season. In the second round, Vesta will see either Kyle McCrite (16-12) of Grand Canyon or David Demo (23-11) of Minnesota State-Mankato. Either of those matchups would be a first for Vesta.
At 141-pounds, defending national runner-up B.J. Young enters this year’s national tournament with a 34-9 season record and will face Adams State’s Ryan Fillingame (21-5) in the first round. The pair have not met this season. In the second round, Young will face either Mary’s Trevor Johnson (30-4) or Central Oklahoma’s Trison Graham (23-11). Those meetings would also be the first of the season for Young.
At 145-pounds, Deral Brown enters his second national tournament with a 36-5 season record and as the Super Region I champion. He will face 14-6 Jonatan Rivera of Notre Dame (Ohio). Rivera defeated Brown in the second tiebreaker period in the quarterfinals of the National Duals in January. It is one of Brown’s only two losses to a Division II wrestler this season and he has won 13 consecutive matches since then. In the second round, Brown will either see St. Cloud State’s Jacob Horn (15-7) or Grand Canyon’s Bobby Ward (16-4). Brown has not seen either wrestler this season.
At 157-pounds, Taylor Knapp enters the national tournament with a 24-6 record and faces off with Maryville (Mo.)’s Joseph Moorhouse (24-10) in the opening round. The pair have never met. Knapp’s second round opponent will be either Central Oklahoma’s Cory Dauphin (24-3) or Colorado School of Mines’ John Crowley (26-7).
At 165-pounds, Blake Ridenour enters the national tournament with a 30-7 record and as the Super Region I champion. He wrestles Colorado State-Pueblo’s Trevor Grant (17-16) in the opening round. His second opponent will be either Findlay’s Mason True (16-5) or St. Cloud State’s Gabe Fogarty (24-10). Ridenour defeated then-No. 2 True 7-0 when the Wolves and Roughnecks met at the Newberry Duals in December.
At 184-pounds, Mitch Brown enters the national tournament with a 31-9 record and as the Super Region I runner-up. He will see Upper Iowa’s Mitch Schultz (15-4) in the opening round. The pair haven’t met this season. The second opponent will be either Western State’s Kyle Piatt (22-6) or Central Oklahoma’s Tanner Keck (22-16), neither of which Brown has seen this season.
At 197-pounds, Joey Grisko finished third in the Super Region I Tournament and carries a 25-11 record to Birmingham. He wrestles Western State’s Samuel Mangum (15-5) in the opening round. In the second bout, Grisko will see either Maryville (Mo.)’s Matthew Baker (32-1) or in-state rival Justin Tribble (27-11) of Limestone. Grisko beat Tribble by a 6-3 decision in the Braves Classic championship match in November. Grisko lost a 3-1 decision in the sudden victory period of the consolation semifinals at the Midwest Classic in December.
At heavyweight, Matt Wade carries a 20-7 record to nationals after placing third at the regional tournament. He will wrestle Andrew Tumlin (28-10) of Findlay in the opening round. The pair did not meet in the NC/UF dual in December. The second opponent will be either Grand Canyon’s Tyrell Fortune (30-1) or Indianapolis’ Evan Wooding (25-15).