By Logan Arneson, Contributing Writer
The Hilltopper wrestling season is coming to a close with only two weeks remaining in the postseason. The regional tournament held at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown has concluded and one wrestler, Darius Bunch, of the starting ten has advanced to the NCAA Division II national wrestling tournament in Iowa.
The wrestling team finished their regular season with a final record of six wins and seven losses. Although that’s not a winning record, it is an improvement from years’ past. On top of that, the Hilltoppers have been nationally ranked since the beginning of January.
The Hilltoppers had high hopes to qualify a few wrestlers coming out of the regular season and heading on to the regional tournament. Ultimately, they did not finish where they wanted to, but the team still qualified one wrestler.
Finishing in third place in the 133 pound weight class at the NCAA Super Region One tournament was Bunch. Bunch lost his semifinal match to Dustin Warner from Wheeling Jesuit University, who ended up taking first place.
Another Hilltopper, Logan Kemp, placed sixth at the tournament in the 197 pound weight class, but will not advance to nationals due to only the top four placers moving on.
Kemp lost in his semifinal match 3-2 to Anthony Niebauer from University of Pittsburgh Johnstown, and then lost his remaining two matches to finish outside of the top four.
Overall as a team, the Hilltoppers finished in tenth place with 33.5 points.
The top three teams were Wheeling Jesuit in third with 102.5 points, University of Pittsburgh Johnstown in second with 111.5 points and Notre Dame College of Ohio in first place with 133.5 points.
Looking ahead to the national tournament, Bunch will have two more weeks of training to bounce back from his third place finish at regionals and become the NCAA Division II 133 pound champion.
The national championship will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 9 and 10.
Photo Credit: Hilltoppersports.com