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Complete NCWA Championships recap, plus notes

03/17/2009 -

HAMPTON, Va. – The Apprentice School clinched its first NCWA national title well before the start of the placing matches for the heavyweight class. Yet the Builders’ celebration remained on hold because there was history still to be made if it could get one more win in the tournament’s final moments.
Cecil Lee highlighted Apprentice’s already-victorious afternoon with a 5-1 win over Tim Rose of Amherst College to pin an individual national title to go alongside the team trophy. Lee’s win, his 46th of the season to break another school record, came in front of a host of students and staff from the Newport News, Va., school that hosted the event at the Hampton University Convocation Center just a few miles away from its campus.
Apprentice tallied six All-Americans, most than half of its lineup, to outlast three-time defending national champion Grand Valley State by a 118.5-109 count.
“To do this in our area is quite a way to finish my career,” Lee said. “It felt like I was at home with all the fans cheering in the finals.”
“I thought we had potential with this young team,” said Apprentice School head coach Bruce Shumaker, who was honored as the National Coach of the Year later Saturday evening at a post-tournament banquet. “Right now it's amazing. They did a tremendous job this weekend, and we have a championship now.”
Three teams were in tight contention for the national title entering Saturday’s final two sessions, with Apprentice holding just a half-point lead over Grand Valley State and the U.S. Naval Academy Prep School within striking distance 4.5 points back. The Builders’ title shot developed in the semifinals of both the championship and consolation brackets, where it gained enough advancement points to provide the eventual winning margin.
Apprentice wrestlers were 2-1 in championship semifinals and 2-1 in consolation semifinal bouts.
Grand Valley State, which brought 22 wrestlers to the tournament, was 1-2 in the championship semifinals and 1-4 in the consolation semifinals. Richard Doherty advanced to the national title match at 174 pounds and settled for second.
Apprentice’s other All-Americans, representing a top-eight finish, were Marcus Chevres (second at 133 pounds), Ty Holley (fourth at 141), Matt Perry (eighth at 149), Will Harcum (fifth at 165) and Charles Mills (fourth at 174). The Builders will likely head into the 2009-10 season as favorites to repeat. Their entire roster consists of underclassmen except for Lee and Holley.
Grand Valley’s All-Americans were Jonathan Murray (fifth at 125), Mike Leonard (fifth at 157), Richard Doherty (second at 174), Kelvin Miller (fifth at 197), Joe Kuzmicz (fifth at 235) and Corey Melinn (third at 285).

Other Tournament Notes:

U.S. Naval Academy Prep takes third
U.S. academy preps place among top seven teams and claim four individual titles

All five wrestlers from the U.S. Naval Academy Prep School won their finals matches Saturday, ending an impressive final-day rally into third place. NAPS finished with 96.5 points, edging the Marion Military Institute by a half-point.
Nick Hylton provided that extra point by winning the national championship in the 197-pound weight class, scoring a reverse with 10 seconds remaining for a 9-8 win over Dan Brower of Miami (Ohio). Jake Schalles won the national title at 165 pounds minutes earlier with a decisive 6-1 win over Eric Gobin of the U.S. Military Academy Prep School.
Matt Jackson (157) and Oscar Huntley (174) won their matches for third-place finishes, and Chris Piccolella took fifth at 149 pounds. The NAPS wrestlers combined to go undefeated through the first three rounds to reach the semifinals and earn All-American status.
Steven West led the U.S. Military Academy Prep School into sixth place with a decisive 17-7 national-title win over Apprentice’s Chevres at 133 pounds. Gobin took second at 165, and Alan Lutterman fought through six consolation rounds at 285 pounds after losing his opening bout before finishing fourth as MAPS’ third All-American.
Dillon Horn (149) and Thomas O’Connor (174) fell out of the tournament in the third consolation round.
The U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School finished seventh led by Cole VonOhlen, who pinned his way through five matches to win the national title at 141 pounds. VonOhlen, a freshman, earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award after a first-period fall over Justin Bowser of Maryland-Baltimore County in the national title match.
Ethan Martinez placed fifth for the AFAPS, and Tim Smell (197) and Jared Erickson (235) each took seventh earn All-American honors.

More on the military academies – Marion Military Academy (Ala.) takes fourth

Six wrestlers from Marion Military Academy earned All-American status, helping MMI take fourth overall with 96 points. Reece Freeman led the group with a national runner-up finish in the 125-pound class. Derrick Lucas placed fourth at 165 to go with seventh-place finishes by Kyler Kirkwood (174), Dominic DeMarco (197) and Michael Mullen (285). Gavin Shoemo (133) placed eighth.

Central Florida continues top-five streak

Central Florida’s five All-American wrestlers helped it maintain one of the most dominant streaks in the 12-year history of the NCWA. The Knights placed fifth overall with 85.5 points, marking the seventh straight year they’ve placed among the top five teams, including national titles in 2004 and 2005.
National runner-up Richard Rippy led the way, charging through the 184-pound championship bracket before falling in the national title match to Steve Gerrard of Colorado State.
Frito Cherenfant (125) and Steve DeAugustino (133) led UCF’s rally in the final day to move up three places into the top five. Both won third-place matches, and Ryan Witzel (157) and Christopher Hauser (174) took sixth each.
Central Florida has placed in the national top eight every year since its charter season in 2002.

Kansas State treks into 10th place after hitch-hiking to quarterfinal rounds

Based on the trek the
Kansas State wrestling team took here Friday, they might try to add cross country to their athletic resumes, too. Thanks to some quick thinking, good conditioning, and some friendly members of coastal Virginia, the Wildcats stayed in contention for a top-10 finish during the Friday afternoon session.
Time was already short when the team van got jammed behind a traffic accident in Norfolk, Va., on the opposite shore of Chesapeake Bay from the Hampton University Convocation Center.
Out of options and with the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel still in front of them, the Wildcats’ seven wrestlers abandoned their team van to begin a mad dash for the center on foot, running in the rain alongside Interstate 64 braving 40-degree temperatures.
“We weren’t going to go out like that, sitting in our van,” said Nick Newell, the Wildcats’ 165-pounder who advanced to the semifinals an hour later. Missing the session’s 5 p.m. start time would have disqualified the entire team. “So we took off running to take our chances on making it.”
The team ran for about a mile-and-a-half. But what to do when you’ve got 40 minutes to cover the last six miles to an event? Stick out your thumb. The seven passed the accident scene, then hitch-hiked in smoother traffic the rest of the way as three friendly cars pulled over to help, turning the ugly Friday weather more pleasant.
“We kept looking at our watches, and looking across the bay. We were making good time, but knew we needed help,” said Newell, who eventually placed third overall.
All seven reached the center in time to warm up, way ahead of their van that arrived 20 minutes later. The stressful hour might have pumped the team up, as five of the seven won their next matches. Keaton Taylor (133), Joey Heersche (133), Thomas Pipes (149) and Newell (165) earned All-American honors for 10th-place Kansas State.

Amherst’s big boys give big effort doing more with less

Amherst College made the most of their school’s initial entries into the NCWA Championships. Guy Matisis and Tim Rose were a two-man team for the Lord Jeffs, and produced a 14th-place finish overall with 44 points. They are Amherst’s first two All-Americans during its NCWA tenure.
Both wrestlers were undefeated in the tournament heading into their national title bouts. Matisis won the 235-pound bracket with an 8-7 win over Lucas Borneman of Middle Tennessee State, and Rose took second at 285 following a 5-1 loss to Cecil Lee from The Apprentice School.

Yakima Valley Community College wins women’s division in program’s first year

So much for developing a program for national competition. In its first season, Yakima Valley Community College of Yakima, Wash., had three national champions and three more All-Americans to run away with the NCWA’s team title with 73 points. Simon Fraser (Canada) was second at 57.5, and Pacific University third at 35.5.
Tamika Jones (105), Ashlee Phy (130) and Monique Dilliner (159) each won national titles within their weight classes based on round-robin schedule format, followed by a championship bout between the first- and second-place wrestlers. Phy earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award and had the most pins in the fastest time. Jones was the only entry at 105 pounds, but wrestled within the 112 bracket.
Cady Chambers (second place at 112), Christina Stanley (third at 121) and Rachel Segura (third at 139) also earned All-American honors.

There’s something new about that 184-pound bracket

Half of the All-Americans in the 184-pound men's bracket earned their school’s first All-American nods under the NCWA banner. Greg Cormier (Massachusetts), Jerod Northcott (Mercer), Garrett Johnston (Oakland, Mich.) and Benjamin Harding (Weber State) each put their school on the NCWA’s All-American map this season.
Here’s a list of school producing first-time NCWA All-Americans this season:
Amherst College (Amherst, Mass.) – Guy Matisis (235 pounds), Tim Rose (285)
Bowling Green State (Bowling Green, Ohio) – Greg Burger (157 pounds)
Hudson Valley Community College (Troy, N.Y.) – Brian Borst (125 pounds)
Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) – Joe Jellison (125 pounds)
Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.) – Greg Cormier (184 pounds)
Mercer Univ. (Macon, Ga.) – Jerod Northcott (184 pounds)
Oakland Univ. (Oakland, Mich.) – Garrett Johnston (184 pounds)
Radford Univ. (Radford, Va.) – Alex Driggers (235 poiunds)
Southern Illinois – Edwardsville – Blake Reed (165 pounds)
West Chester Univ. (West Chester, Pa.) – Dillon Evans (champion at 149 pounds)
Weber State (Ogden, Utah) – Benjamin Harding (184 pounds)