SHU wrestlers qualify for national championship

Sophomore Damon Greenwald attempts to take down his opponent. Greenwald won the regional championship in his weight category at 174 pounds. Photo by D.Clark/Setonian.

The winter sport of wrestling is still having success on the mat as the men competed in the NCAA Super Regional Tournament the weekend of Feb. 23-24. The weekend went “better than expected” according to head coach Brian Tucker.

The wrestling team moved four individual wrestlers to national competition and some were familiar faces to the national stage. Competing in their respective weight classes, the four moving on were led by sophomore Damon Greenwald, who won the regional championship. Freshman Vincent Distefanis took second, redshirt junior Jacob Temple took third and redshirt senior Zach Voytek qualified for his third NCAA Championship by winning a true fourth place match. Following them, the other two placing were freshman Luke Landefeld at fifth and redshirt sophomore Austin Shaw at sixth.

As a team, the Griffins placed sixth and Tucker was very pleased with that effort.

“During the tournament, the guys beat three previous All-Americans and won four matches against opponents who had beaten them during the season,” Tucker said.

It is a tall feat for any team when All-American caliber athletes are battling against you, and it is no secret that the Griffins compete because of their most valuable characteristic: their depth.

“We returned four national qualifiers,” Tucker said, two who were previous All-Americans. “Unfortunately, only Voytek was in the lineup for regionals.”

Throughout the season, the team showcased their depth, building up a record of 14-3. In January, the team finished as the runner-up in their first appearance in the NWCA National Duals, defeating some of the top-ranked wrestling programs in the country.

In wrestling, the starting lineup for game day consists of 10 wrestlers ranging from different weight classes. For the Seton Hill team, those 10 spots saw 20 different wrestlers throughout the year.

Redshirt senior Zach Voytek prepares to make a move against his opponent. Voytek qualified for his third NCAA Championship by finishing fourth in the regional tournament. Photo by D.Clark/Setonian.

“All season they wrestled tough, expected to win, expected to wrestle for each other and thus led to the team success,” Tucker said.

The wrestlers will continue with this team mentality as the postseason continues for the four individual wrestlers. Although there will only be four men competing, they will have the strength and support of the whole team behind them. The NCAA Division II National Championships are held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 9. The video will be streamed on the NCAA website.

Published By: Stephen Dumnich

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