Washington and Lee University junior Zach Bylykbashi won the NCAA Southeast Regional on Saturday, ensuring his return to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year. He entered the tournament as the 3 seed, but knocked off the #2 seeded Matthew Grossman from Wilkes Saturday morning in the semifinals to qualify for nationals. Zach was forced to come from behind to pull out the victory. He scored a takedown in in sudden victory overtime to secure the 6-4 win, after also scoring a takedown late in the 3rd period to tie the match at 4. In the finals on Saturday afternoon, Zach defeated Delaware Valley’s Tim Ambacher 2-0 to make it 2 straight years that W&L has had a regional champion. Last season, Bylykbashi took 3rd at 133 lbs while first year Joe Scott won the 165 lb weight class.
The Generals had a program best 7 wrestlers qualify for day 2, meaning that those seven wrestlers were in the top 8 of their weight class. While seniors Brandon Lefore (174) and Matt Kaminer (285) and junior Ethan Hartman (125) fell in their first match on Saturday morning, three other generals made it onto the podium. Sophomore Rexx Hallyburton (184) and first year Bryce Crew (149) finished in 5th and 6th place, respectively. Sophomore Shane Conners (157) came the closest to earning a ticket to the NCAA tournament, falling into a tight overtime match to Johns Hopkins in the third place match. A top three finish would have earned W&L their 2nd NCAA Qualifier.
W&L has now had at NCAA qualifiers each of the last three years and has improved our standing at the regional tournament each of the last three years. Last year’s 10th place finish was one better than 11th place in 2016. This past weekend, with a 7th place finish, the Generals took another step forward as a team. Now the goal is for Zach to earn All-American honors, a top 8 finish at the national tournament. This year’s championships are hosted by Baldwin-Wallace University and will be held at the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland, OH. More information, including an event schedule and ticket sales, is available here. The last W&L All-American was Rich Redfoot at 177 lbs in 1989. That event was also held in Cleveland, hosted by John Carroll University.
Here is a sampling of photos taken throughout the tournament by the Ferrum College athletic staff. (full gallery)
Southeast Regional Results
147 Messiah College
133 York College
93 Ferrum College
93 Johns Hopkins University
80 Lycoming College
76.5 Delaware Valley University
72 Washington and Lee University
71 Greensboro College
62 Wilkes University
55.5 King’s College
44 Gettysburg College
39 Penn State – Erie
31.5 Averett College
29.5 Southern Virginia University
25.5 Penn College of Technology
13 Thiel College
7 Hampden-Sydney College
6.5 McDaniel College