Six wrestlers on John Stutzman's squad entered today's action with a chance to head to Madison Square Garden and compete for an NCAA Championship. But, only 2 have clinched their spots in the big one as Colt Cotten and Bryan Lantry both finished 5th in their respective brackets.
Cotten defeated Lenny Richardson in the 5th place bout at 149 pounds by disqualification, while Lantry earned his berth yesterday after he upended #8 Mack McGuire in the quarterfinals. Kyle Akins fell twice to nationally ranked opponents and finished 6th in the 125 pound bracket; he will need an at-large bid to qualify for the national tournament and he sits right on the bubble so its a situation worth watching.
James Benjamin came just shy of qualifying for the national tournament as he dropped two one point decisions to nationally ranked Anthony Abro and Kyle Conel. Benjamin ends his junior season above the .500 mark with a 17-16 record.
Joe Ariola upset the #3 seed Andrew Romanchik to advance to the 3rd place match at 184 pounds where he met Missouri's Willie Miklus for the second time in the tournament and fell 10-3. The 184 pound weight class does have 4 automatic bids to the NCAA tournament, however, Ariola needs to win the true 4th place match to earn the qualifying bid - as of publishing I'm still waiting on the results from the match.
Jake Gunning gave #18 Blaize Cabell all he could handle in the rematch of the regular season finale at heavyweight. Gunning earned a big takedown in the 3rd to take the lead but gave up an escape and a takedown to fall behind by a point in the closing seconds. Gunning was unable to become UB's first MAC Champion since the 2011 season, but with such an impressive title bout I think that he will earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
As a team, Missouri won the team title, and UB finished 7th, a big improvement from their 9th place finish in Stutzman's inaugural season.
Now all we can do is wait for the at-large bids to be announced and see if anyone else will join Cotten and Lantry; I will update the post as soon as Ariola's match results are posted.
Just after publishing, Joe Ariola defeated Northern Iowa's Drew Foster in overtime and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament, joining Cotten and Lantry.
125: Kyle Akins (0-2) - 6th Place
#28 Brandon Jeske (ODU) dec. Kyle Akins (Buffalo), 4-2
5th Place Match: #27 Shakur Laney (Ohio) pinned Kyle Akins (Buffalo), 1:48
133: Bryan Lantry (1-1) - 5th Place - NCAA Qualifier
#11 Cameron Kelly (Ohio) dec. Bryan Lantry (Buffalo), 6-3
5th Place Match: Bryan Lantry (Buffalo) def. Shayne Wireman (EMU), MFF
149: Colt Cotten (1-1) - 5th Place - NCAA Qualifier
#4 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) maj. dec. Colt Cotten (Buffalo), 15-6
5th Place Match: Colt Cotten (Buffalo) def. #11 Lenny Richardson (ODU), DQ
184: Joe Ariola (2-1) - 4th Place - NCAA Qualifier
Joe Ariola (Buffalo) TB-1 #32 Andrew Romanchik (Ohio), 5-3
3rd Place Match: #12 Willie Miklus (Missouri) dec. Joe Ariola (Buffalo)
True 4th Place Match: Joe Ariola (Buffalo) SV-1 Drew Foster (UNI), 2-1
197: James Benjamin (0-2) - 6th Place
#21 Anthony Abro (EMU) dec. James Benjamin (Buffalo), 5-4
5th Place Match: Kyle Conel (Kent State) dec. James Benjamin (Buffalo), 3-2
285: Jake Gunning (0-1) - 2nd Place
1st Place Match: #18 Blaize Cabell (UNI) dec. Jake Gunning (Buffalo), 6-5