The National Tournament is the pinnacle of wrestling, where the best from across the country battle for 8 coveted All-American spots at the conclusion of each season. First year Joe Scott and sophomore Zach Bylykbashi joined this prestigious group with strong performances at the East Regional Tournament. When they reached La Crosse for the National Tournament, they fell just shy of All-American honors, but they performed well and proved that they belonged among the field.
Image of the NCAA Finals
Due to the random nature of the draw, Zach had a preliminary “pigtail” match to start the tournament. He lost, but cameback to win two matches in a row by 1 point margins to put himself in the “blood round.” A win would mean that he would secure for himself a top 8 finish and All-American honors and would be wrestling on day 2. Unfortunately Zach came up a bit short, losing to the eventual 5th place finisher. He finishes the year with a 26-6 record, a Centennial Conference Champion, and a National Qualifier.
As a freshman in one of the toughest weight classes Joe knew he would have a tough road and would have to wretle his absolute best this weekend. The 165 lb weight class had 7 returning All-Americans, and Joe drew the 4th seed, a returning All-American from Messiah, in for his first match. He lost a tight 5-1 decision, and his opponent would go on to make it to the semifinals and finish in 3rd place. After dropping down to the consolation bracket, Joe faced the #5 seed in his second match. Joe fought hard but was eliminated. Still, he finishes this season as one of the most accomplished freshman campaigns in Washington and Lee history. He is a Centennial Conference runner-up, East Region Champion, and finishes with a 20-9 record.
Action got underway at the 2017 NCAA D3 Wrestling Championships this morning, with both Zach Bylykbashi (133) and Joe Scott (165) wrestling. Zach wrestled twice, dropping his first and winning his second match. Joe wrestled just once and dropped a tight decision to the #4 seed. Both will get back on the mat in tonight’s session, starting at 6 pm CT/7 pm EST. They will each need two wins to clinch All-American honors and secure their spot in tomorrow’s placement matches. Follow the tournament
Zach Bylykbashi fell to Jared Braun (Elmhurst) 6-11 in the first round, and then defeated #8 Joe Brodman (Wisconsin-Whitewater) 2-1 to stay alive in the consolation bracket. He will now face Evan Corso (Oswego State) in tonight’s consolation round.
Joe Scott fell in his first round to #4 Larry Cannon (Messiah) 1-5, but will resume his quest for All-American honors tonight. His next opponent is Connor Brummett (Wabash).
Zach Bylykbashi will be up wrestling as the first match of the morning session on MAT 4. His second match will be 45 minutes after the conclusion of his first match, so he will be wrestling again around 1:00 pm EST. Joe Scott should also be wrestling around 1-1:30 PM EST.
Zach Bylykbashi poses after an evening workout at the La Crosse Center, home of the 2017 NCAA D3 Wrestling Championships
After two flights and two separate hour long car rides- 10 hours total of traveling- we arrived in La Crosse, WI and made it to the arena for a light workout.
Joe and Zach workout on the arena floor
Thursday is another day of working out, getting the last few pounds off, and preparing for the beginning of competition on Friday morning. Follow all the action, including a live video stream of every mat, here.
Not bad views from the hotel- town of La Crosse on one side and the Mississippi River on the other
We are only four days away from the NCAA D3 National Championships. Washington and Lee University qualified 2 athletes, Sophomore 133 lber Zach Bylykbashi and first year 165 lber Joe Scott. Here is Zach Bylykbashi’s highlight video from the East Regional Tournament, where he placed 3rd and qualified himself for the NCAA tournament. Joe’s highlight video can be seen here.
The 2017 NCAA DIII National Championships
Hosted by the University of Wisconsin, La Crosseat the La Crosse Center (300 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, WI 54601).
Zach Bylykbashi starts on the bottom half of the bracket in a pigtail, meaning that he will have to wrestle twice during the Friday morning session. His first opponent is Jared Braun of Elmhurst College. D3wrestle.com 133 lb Preview
165 lb Preview
Joe begins on the top half of the bracket, and will face Larry Cannon, the #4 seed from Messiah, in the first round. Cannon is a returning All-American, taking 4th at 157 lbs in 2016. D3wrestle.com 165 lb Preview