The Generals began the day with five wrestlers still alive and hoping to earn themselves at trip to the NCAA DIII National Championships in La Crosse, Wisconsin with a top 3 finish. Rexx Hallyburton (184) and Shane Conners (157) both were among the top 8 of their weight class but were not able to advance to the placement rounds. Matt Kaminer (285) won his first match on the day on Saturday, and finished in 6th place. It was the junior’s first time placing at the regional tournament.
Zach Bylykbashi (133) fell in the semifinal to returning national runner-up Nathan Pike (NYU) by a narrow 5-9 decision. He then took out Noah Malamut (Gettysburg) and Dylan Luciano (Centenary) in a thrilling 15-7 major decision to earn 3rd place and punch his ticket to the NCAA tournament.
First year Joe Scott (165) never faltered on his way to an East Regional championship, becoming W&L’s first regional champion! Regional tournaments were instituted in the 2012-2013 season to replace conference championships as NCAA qualification events. Joe went 4-0 on the day, starting out with a 15-7 major decision over Thomas Miller (Centenary), then winning a tough quarterfinal match against Andrew Tolbert (Ferrum) 5-4. In doing so, he avenged a loss to Tolbert in his first college competition, during W&L’s November 5 dual against Ferrum College. He then defeated Maykel Dolorit (NYU) in the semifinals to punch his ticket to the NCAA tournament. Finally, Joe capped off an impressive tournament by taking out returning regional champion and NCAA qualifier Nick Herring (TCNJ) in the championship final match 7-4.
2017 is the first time W&L has had two national qualifiers since 1987. That’s 30 years since two W&L wrestlers went to nationals in the same year! It is also the first time W&L has had back to back years with national qualifiers since the 1986 and 1987 seasons. Last year Ron Tassoni qualified for the NCAA National Tournament by placing 3rd at 184 lbs, breaking a 15 year drought in which W&L had not been represented at the National Tournament since 2001. The next step… breaking W&L’s All-American drought. W&L’s last and only NCAA All-American was Richard Redfoot, who placed 5th at 177 lbs in 1989. Click for W&L’s full Conference/NCAA Championship History.