Three or Four UW-Milwaukee Wrestlers Advance to Nationals, Team Takes 9th Place
Hughes, Reynoso, and Kwilinski advance to Nationals; Hansen seeks wild card
COLUMBUS – In a tournament that was kicked off with a brief speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger, UW-Milwaukee wrestlers brought home awards for eighth place, seventh place, and two awards for third place for their efforts at this year’s NCWA North Central Conference Tournament.
Alex Hughes (Fr, 125), Omar Reynoso (Jr, 157), and Darin Kwilinski (Sr, 174) all finished in the top seven at their respective weight classes to lock up places at the NCWA National Tournament, which is to be held from March 13th-15th at the University of Central Florida in Lakeland, FL. Tom Hansen (So, 141) took eighth place and will not find out until later in the week if he will receive a wild card selection to compete at the tournament. Tony Franciosi (Jr, 165) went 0-2.
“The wild card process in the NCWA is somewhat intricate,” explained head coach Koy Kosek, “but there is definitely a chance that Hansen could get into Nationals. We’re hoping that he does because there’s no question that he can compete there; we’ll just have to wait to see what the selection committee decides.”
Hughes and Kwilinski, who were seeded fourth and fifth, respectively, coming into the tournament both finished in third place at the event. In each case, their only loss of the tournament came to the eventual champion in their bracket. Hughes avenged a 6-5 loss on January 13th to Bowling Green State ’s David Briggs (So, 125) by defeating him 8-1 at the conference tournament to advance to the third place match.
Reynoso, who was seeded ninth at the tournament, cut it much closer, wrestling his way into a must-win match for seventh place. He scored a pin in the third period to secure his spot at NCWA Nationals in dramatic fashion.
"When the referee raised my hand after I had won my final match, I realized that all the hard work had finally paid off," said a pleased Reynoso after the match. "All the grueling hours of practice and endless film sessions were all justified by that single moment. Qualifying for Nationals is, by far, my biggest achievement this year. During the beginning of the season, Nationals was definitely not in my sights.
"Wrestling again, after a two year break, was somewhat like learning how to walk again," continued Reynoso, a junior in college, referring to the fact that he hadn’t wrestled since high school when the season began. "The biggest obstacle for me was to make the transition from high school wrestling to collegiate level wrestling. Having achieved what seemed like an unattainable goal in the beginning of the season makes me quite proud of myself."
It was the first NCWA-only individual tournament that UW-Milwaukee has competed in all season. Coach Kosek elaborated on the distinction between the NCWA and the NCAA teams that the team is used to competing against.
"A lot of what we lost on," Kosek explained, "was what I would consider high school wrestling technique: throws and rolls and weird, tricky moves and positions that the college teams we face generally don’t build their gameplans around. Perhaps I could more generously call it Greco-Roman-style wrestling, at least on the feet. There was an enormous kid’s tournament going on next to our mats, and with the rolling around and things that were going on in the college matches, I wasn’t sure at times if I was watching kid’s wrestling or college wrestling. We expected that here, but they still caught us a few times. That’s the type of thing that Tom lost his seventh place match on. No move was too low-percentage to try at the NCWA conference tournament. In a way it was more exciting for fans, but I think it also randomized the outcomes of matches more than we’re used to from competing at NCAA tournaments all season. That will be a big adjustment for us before Nationals."
The team took ninth place among the sixteen programs that competed in the tournament.
"I was thrilled for Alex, Omar, and Darin," said Coach Kosek. "The one black mark on the day for me was Tom's failure to get an automatic qualification to Nationals. Tony had one close match, but he was seeded #13 coming in so a top 7 finish would have been considered a real bonus. As a team, I was rather pleased with how the guys we had here did. To beat almost half the teams here with only five guys was a good showing for us. We won more matches than we lost. The team finished higher at this tournament than it did last season. I felt like a lot of what we've been working on all season finally paid off for us. We've shown the ability to take a new college wrestler, like Omar or Alex, and make him into a national qualifier in one season. For the program, it's just a matter of getting more guys in the system at this point.
"If a couple of guys wouldn’t have quit, or if Schiltz hadn’t been deployed to Iraq, this tournament would have been very special chapter in this program’s history, but it was still a step forward.
"Now, we’re looking ahead to Nationals."
North Central Conference Team Standings
Place, Team, Score
1) Grand Valley State University 219.0
2) Miami University 78.0
3) University of Toledo 74.5
4) Mott Community College 71.5
5) University of Southern Indiana 68.0
6) Bowling Green State University 62.0
7) The Ohio State University 41.0
8) University of Dayton 40.0
9) University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee 39.5
10) Winona State University 38.5
11) University of Rio Grande 37.5
12) Illinois State University 34.5
13) Ohio University 31.0
14) Cleveland State University 27.0
15) Oakland University 16.5
16) Indiana Wesleyan 12.5
North Central Conference Results for UW-Milwaukee
125 - Alex Hughes scored 12.00 team points and xx NCWA rankings points.
Quarterfinal - Alex Hughes (UW-Milwaukee) won by decision over Travis Murphy (Mott Community College) (Dec 7-0)
Semifinal - Shane Porter (Ohio State Universiy) won by major decision over Alex Hughes (UW-Milwaukee) (Maj 26-13)
Cons. Semi - Alex Hughes (UW-Milwaukee) won by decision over David Briggs (Bowling Green State University) (Dec 8-1)
3rd Place - Alex Hughes (UW-Milwaukee) won by decision over Michael Donovan (Grand Valley State University) (Dec 5-1)
141 - Tom Hansen scored 5.50 team points and xx NCWA rankings points.
Champ. Round 1 - Tom Hansen (UW-Milwaukee) won by major decision over Brad Frey (Grand Valley State University) (Maj Dec 18-9)
Quarterfinal - Alex McMillan (Mott Community College) won by pin over Tom Hansen (UW-Milwaukee) (Pin 1:20)
Cons. Round 2 - Tom Hansen (UW-Milwaukee) won by decision over John Mohr (Illinois State University) (Dec 14-7)
Cons. Quarterfinal - Craig Bilke (University of Dayton) won by pin over Tom Hansen (UW-Milwaukee) (Pin 2:14)
7th Place - Nick Brown (Miami University) won by pin over Tom Hansen (UW-Milwaukee) (Pin 3:52)
157 - Omar Reynoso scored 10.00 team points and xx NCWA rankings points.
Champ. Round 1 - Jeff Ausenberg (University of Southern Indiana) won by decision over Omar Reynoso (UW-Milwaukee) (Dec 8-4)
Cons. Round 1 - Omar Reynoso receives a bye
Cons. Round 2 - Omar Reynoso (UW-Milwaukee) won by decision over Ethan Meyer (Grand Valley State University) (Dec 8-4)
Cons. Quarterfinal - Joshua Paulus (Bowling Green State University) won by pin over Omar Reynoso (UW-Milwaukee) (Pin 3:04)
165 - Tony Franciosi scored 0.00 team points and xx NCWA rankings points.
Champ. Round 1 - Mike Layer (Miami University) won by decision over Tony Franciosi (UW-Milwaukee) (Dec 10-7)
Cons. Round 1 - Shaun Fraley (University of Rio Grande) won by major decision over Tony Franciosi (UW-Milwaukee) (Dec 12-2)
174 - Darin Kwilinski scored 12.00 team points and xx NCWA rankings points.
Champ. Round 1 - Darin Kwilinski (UW-Milwaukee) won by major decision over Jim Blair (Ohio University) (Dec 11-2)
Quarterfinal - Darin Kwilinski (UW-Milwaukee)won by decision over Thomas Kiefer (University of Toldeo) (Dec 12-10)
Semifinal - Lance Esch (University of Rio Grande) won by major decision over Darin Kwilinski (UW-Milwaukee) (Maj Dec 14-6)
Cons. Semifinal - Darin Kwilinski (UW-Milwaukee) won by decision over Bill Peterson(Ohio State University) (Dec 8-3)
3rd Place - Darin Kwilinski (UW-Milwaukee) won by decision over Thomas Kiefer (University of Toldeo) (Dec 4-3)