The Ashland University wrestling team qualified eight wrestlers for this year's NCAA Division II championships. To earn a trip to nationals, a wrestler has to finish in the top four at the regional championships. This year's Super 2 Regional Championships concluded Sunday (Feb. 26) at Central Oklahoma.
The lone AU wrestler to win a regional title was senior Jacob Southwick (Bowling Green, Ohio/Otsego) at 285 pounds. In the title bout, Southwick, the field's top seed, nipped Andrew Tumlin of Findlay, 1-0. This is the second straight year Southwick has reached nationals and this is his second consecutive regional championship. A year ago, he finished fourth in the country and earned his first All-American award.
Ashland had four wrestlers claim bronze medals. That quartet included senior Brandon Davis (Greensboro, N.C./Page) at 125 pounds, sophomore Adli Edwards (Gahanna, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) at 133 pounds, senior Marc Hoff (Liberty Center, Ohio) at 149 pounds and senior Tommie Graszl (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison) at 165 pounds.
Three Ashland wrestlers posted fourth-place finishes. That group consisted of junior Dan Genetin (Navarre, Ohio/Massillon Perry) at 157 pounds, freshman Bryson Hall (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa) at 174 pounds and freshman Joe Brandt (Versailles, Ohio) at 197 pounds.
Edwards, Hoff, Hall and Brandt are making the trip to nationals for the first time. Southwick is the only member of this nationals-bound group to place at the national championships.
A year ago, the Eagles sent six wrestlers to nationals. Genetin was part of that traveling party. This is the third consecutive year he's made the trek to nationals. A year ago Genetin was the regional runner-up.
Davis was redshirted last year. His other trip to nationals came at the end of the 2009-10 season. That year he was fourth at the regional meet. On Sunday, Davis defeated Lake Erie's Austin Gillihan, 4-2 in the consolation finals. The only loss Davis suffered at regionals came to the champion, Ben Sergent of Findlay. Sergent defeated Davis, 3-1 in the semifinals.
Genetin's setback in the consolation finals came to Central Oklahoma's Cory Dauphin. Dauphin, the top seed at the weight class, stopped Genetin, 5-4.
Edwards has been one of AU's most improved wrestlers this year. He gained confidence as the year went along and seemed to come into his own in the second half of the year. In the consolation finals he got the better of Lake Erie's Ian Ross, 6-2.
Hoff won in the consolation finals over Findlay's Jeremy Espinoza, 12-5. Hoff has been nationally ranked for much of this season.
Graszl wrapped up third place at 165 pounds with a 3-2 verdict against Patrick Spano of King. He will be going to nationals for the second time in his career. The last time he made the journey came at the end of his sophomore season.
Ashland was third in the final team standings. Central Oklahoma finished first out of 11 teams with 127.5 points. Findlay was second with 102 points and Ashland was third with 96.5 points.
Limestone's 197-pound Dan Scanlon was named the region's Outstanding Wrestler. Shawn Nelson of Findlay was the regional Coach of the Year. Dauphin received the Most Falls Award with three falls in 8:41. Ouachita Baptist's Dallas Smith, wrestling at 184 pounds, was named the region's Freshman of the Year.
The NCAA Division II national championship meet will be held Mar. 9-10 in Pueblo, Colo.