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.
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.