ANDERSON, S.C. – After concluding its 2013-14 dual schedule, Anderson University wrestling returns to the mats for the NCAA Division II Midwest Super Regionals on Friday and Saturday at Tiffin’s Heminger Center.
Including the Trojans, 17 teams will make the trek to the Buckeye State for their chance to advance to the NCAA Division I Championships in Cleveland, Ohio on March 14-15. Five of the 17 teams are currently nationally ranked, while 22 wrestlers are individually ranked in the top-eight in their respective weight class.
Sophomore Zak Hale looks to find the podium at the regional for the second time in his career after finishing third in the Super Region I Championships. Hale went on to the NCAA Championships where he finished 1-2 for his tournament campaign.
This season, Hale enters the tournament with a team-high 18 victories and regionally ranked in the Basford Rankings throughout the season. In Hale’s 18 wins this season, the Shaftsbury, Vt. native has five pins, a technical fall, five major decisions and five wins by decisions.
Hale highlights a lineup of eight other Trojans that will be looking to qualify for the national tournament. Graduate student Zane Newton and junior Sean Turner follow Hale in the wins column for the season, as Newton holds a 14-9 record, but has dropped his last two bouts. Turner, who has been in-and-out of the Basford Rankings for the majority of the year, is 7-3 for the season, but suffered an injury default against UNC Pembroke and has been unable to return since the setback.
Redshirt senior Cory Monteforte will be completing in his final regional tournament, entering the weekend with a 9-13 record, but has won four of his last five bouts.
In-state rival, Newberry headlines the group of teams traveling to Tiffin this weekend, as the Wolves enter as the No. 5 ranked team in the country. Four Wolves in four different weight classes rank in the top-8 nationally, as BJ Young is ranked third at 141 pounds. Young is joined by Jeff Vesta (125) and Matt Wade (285) who are seventh, while Joey Grisko (197) is slotted in eighth.
Joining Newberry as nationally-ranked teams are McKendree (No. 9), Maryville (No. 13), Indianapolis (No. 14) and Ashland (No. 19). Lake Erie and UNC Pembroke were receiving votes in the latest poll as both teams will be joining the 17-team field.
The two-day tournament is set to begin on Friday at 11 a.m., followed by action on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. The finals are scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. with the top-five finishers advancing to the NCAA Division II Championships at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio on March 14-15.