Mar 16, 2019
Eight Builders have secured a spot on the podium heading into the final day of competition in the NCWA National Championships. The team title is still within reach with Apprentice in 2nd with 143 points led by Liberty with 159.5.
All five semi-finalists won their final match Friday, advancing to the Championship Finals.
Junior Erin Aragon continues to make history for the Builders, recording back-to-back first period pins and advancing to the finals. She is now the first female All-American, and the first finalist for the new women's program. She will now face 3-time National Champion Marina Goocher from University of Michigan Dearborn for the 123 lb title.
Defending 125 lb National Champ Colton Messick has dominated his way through the bracket with four bonus point victories. In the semi-finals he finished with a 12-3 major decision over Kameron Kempker of Grand Valley. He will now face David Campbell of Grays Harbor in the finals. Colt is now a 2X All-American and 2X national finalist.
Sophomore Kolin Johnson met #2 seed and returning runner-up Deonte Evans of Toledo in the semis. Kolin's gas tank was too much for Evans, as Kolin rolled to a 9-3 decision. Kolin is now a 2X All-American and will face #1 seed Brendan Hazelton in the 133 lb finals.
Senior Chad Simmons secured his second straight finals berth at 157 lbs, defeating Dan Ritz of Penn State wrestling club in the semis 16-6. Chad will now have a rematch of the conference finals with Andrew Burgette of Liberty. Chad is now a 3X All-American and 2X finalist.
Defending Champion Ross Graham recorded three pins and a tech fall to advance to the finals at 197 lbs. Ross will also have a conference finals rematch with Austin Amos of Liberty in the final match of the night. In their last meeting Ross recorded a dominant first period pin.
Three more Builders advanced to Saturday securing All-American honors in the wrestle-backs.
After a year and a half layoff from injury, sophomore Tristan Mabe bounced back from a quarter-final loss with a first period pin over August Rohmeyer of Texas A&M. Mabe has recorded three pins and a forfeit on his road to the podium.
Freshman Russ Pierce also fell in the quarters only to power his way to a 10-4 decision over Travis Mitchell of Pacific Lutheran for his first All-American honors. As the #19 seed, Crust has upset the #14 and #9 seeds on his route to the podium.
Senior Steven Francisco Sr. was put in a difficult spot after upsetting the #7 seed to advance to the quarters. Steven had to meet teammate Peter Cortapasso in the blood-round to determine which would become an All-American and which would be going home empty handed. With a narrow 7-5 decision, Frankie is now a 2X All-American at Heavyweight.
Mabe, Pierce and Francisco will all have the opportunity to wrestle back for 3rd place in the consolation bracket.