The Apprentice wrestling squad had a successful weekend, despite a runner-up finish at the 2019 NCWA Mid Atlantic Conference. Host Liberty University once again claimed the team title besting Apprentice 203-193.5. East Carolina was a distant 3rd place with 104 in the ten team event. Colton Messick and Kolin Johnson won their first titles and Ross Graham won his second straight.
Wrestling Finishes Runner Up at NCWA Mid Atlantic Meet
Posted: Mar 04, 2019
Defending 197 lb National Champion Ross Graham's proved once again that his toughest opponent of the day would be the official weigh-in scale. In the most anticipated match-up of the day, Ross turned away 235 National Champion Austin Amos of Liberty in dominant fashion. Graham's top control was too much for Amos, as the "Prince of Poquoson" pulled a near-side cradle over his own back like a gill-net over the gunwale to secure a second period fall. On his way to the finals, Ross recorded a 16-5 major decision over Liberty freshman Josiah Murphy. He was voted the tournaments "Most Outstanding Wrestler".
125 lbs was a Builder-dominated division. Colton Messick won his first MAC championship, advancing to the finals with a pin over Rhett Plemmons of Clemson. In the finals, teammate Raekwon Jackson conceded to Messick after a semi-final win over teammate Matthew Farrar. With the runner-up finish, Jackson qualifies for his first National Championship.-
133 was a surprisingly shallow bracket for a historically deep division. Both Kolin Johnson and Anthony Monahan advance to the finals with single wins. Kolin found an early pin over his Liberty opponent, while Mono grinded out an 8-2 decision over Blue Lights College. Like 125, Anthony conceded to Kolin by forfeit. Both builders are returning All-Americans.
Freshman Trey Templeton continued his climb up the 141 lb ladder, reaching the finals of his first MAC tournament and automatically qualifyng for his first National Tournament as well. After a pair of pins over VMI and UTK, Trey would fall to #3 Wesley Hollingsworth of ECU in a rematch of his first collegiate bout. Hollingsworth is still the only NCWA opponent to beat Trey in any weight class he has competed at.
Both Builders qualified at 149 lbs as Tristan Mabe and Tyler Allen placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. Both dropped bouts to #3 Chad Cantrell of Liberty. Mabe advanced to the finals with a first period pin and a gritty 6-4 decision over Dakota Clarke of Middle Tennessee. After a semi-final loss to Cantrell, Tyler bounced back with a pair of pins claiming bronze and his second straight Nationals berth.
Defending 157 MAC Champ Chad Simmons was upset in the finals by 5th ranked Andrew Burgette of Liberty, a rematch of last years final. Chad recorded a pin and a pair of tech-falls on his way to the finals. Freshman William Heath was forced to medical forfeit after an 8-3 win in his opening bout. Heath received a wildcard bid for his first National Tournament.
Dan Henson qualified for his fourth National Tournament with a 3rd place finish. After a first round pin, Hendo fell to Luke Ely of Liberty in a 2-0 bout in the semi-finals. In the third place bout he survived a scare in his 11-9 win, having to fight off of his back for the majority of the first period. Freshman Jacob Heyde will also advance with a wildcard as well.
Senior Jeremy Mosley also placed 3rd, recording back to back pins after a tough semi-final loss. Mosley is now a 3x National Qualifier.
#7 Wes Sorey had a heartbreaking day at 184 lbs. After a 16-3 major decision over Middle Tennessee, Sorey would face a rematch against #Ryan Thomas of James Madison. With the score tied 0-0, Sorey and Thomas would clash heads after a shot from Sorey. Wes was forced to sit out the remainder of the day by medical default as his team points could have possibly cut the ten point team score significantly. Fortunatley, Sorey will still advance to Nationals with a wildcard after consideration from the coaches committee.
Russ Pierce had a tough draw in the bracket, pitting him against #1 Jeffrey Allen of Liberty in the semi-finals after a 9-2 win. After a pin in the wrestle-back, Russ would get some sweet revenge, pulling out a 5-3 decision over #11 Mark Sizemore of JMU for 3rd Place. He automatically qualifies for his first trip to Nationals.
Steven Francisco looked to be back in his past form, finding an early pin against Thomas Hudson of ECU whom beat Frankie senior-day. He would drop a close 2-0 decision to #3 Dominick Johnson of Liberty, being unable to escape with the 285 lb blanket riding conservatively on top. After beating Khalic Everett of Blue Lights for the second time this season, Frankie would concede to teammate Peter Cortapasso for 3rd place. Passo would give up a last second escape to #4 Austin Wells of MTSU in the semis 5-4. He found a come from behind pin over Hudson as well for his first National Tournament berth.
Erin Aragon automatically qualifies for the NCWA Women's championship, however she met #2 at 143 lbs Charisse Manley for their third exhibition of the season. #1 at 123 lbs, Erin avenged the two previous losses, pinning Manley with vicious top control. Both will be among the favorites to claim hardware in Texas two weeks from now.
Next Up; The Builders will fly to Allen, TX March 14-16 to hunt for their first National Team title since 2010!