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Wrestling will send five to NCAA Championship in St. Louis
No. 4 Vinson, No. 9 Lister, Schiedel, Gwiazdowski and Reed earn berths; BU has two seeded wrestlers
March 6, 2012Tweet
Contact: John Hartrick (email@example.com)
VESTAL, N.Y.—Five Binghamton wrestlers were among the top-33 chosen at their weight classes to compete in the upcoming NCAA Championship, March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The NCAA announced the selections Wednesday afternoon and two Bearcats earned seeds - the most BU has ever had. The quintet of qualifiers gives BU 17 NCAA qualifiers in the last three years.
Binghamton was already assured of four qualifiers as CAA champions Donnie Vinson (149), Justin Lister (157) and Nick Gwiazdowski (Hwt) plus runnerup Nate Schiedel (184) earned automatic bids. Sophomore 197-pound Cody Reed received one of the 40 at-large berths to give BU its fifth national qualifier.
Senior 165-pound Matt Kaylor narrowly missed his third-straight NCAA berth and will complete his stellar career with 112 victories - tied for second-most in the program’s 42-year history.
“After looking at the brackets, obviously every match at the NCAA tournament is a tough one but we are excited about getting five guys qualified and having two seeded,” head coach Pat Popolizio said. “We will take it one match at a time out there. Donnie (Vinson) and Justin (Lister) have great shots to go far in the tournament ... they are focused and won’t take anyone lightly. The good thing is that with our schedule this year, the guys have been able to wrestle everyone from all different conferences so they know what to expect and there won’t be any surprises in St. Louis. Our program goal is always to produce as many champions and All-Americans as we can. Our guys are feeling the best they have all year and the guys that are going are obviously wrestling the best right now and that’s a big positive.”
Vinson, ranked No. 4 in the latest Coaches’ Panel Ranking, received the No. 4 seed. He will open against unseeded Nick Lester (20-10) of Oklahoma. In BU’s dual against the Sooners on January 10, Vinson beat Lester 7-2. Vinson is 33-4 and will enter the NCAA Championship having won 17 of his last 18 matches. He was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the CAA Championship after winning his first conference title in dominating fashion. He recorded a pin, tech fall and major decision in his three matches. Vinson will be making his third straight appearance at the NCAA Championship and will be awarded a high seed when they are announced Wednesday night. Three of his four losses have come to the top three wrestlers in the country.
Lister, a 2010 All-American, will be making his third straight trip to the NCAA Championship and was given the No. 9 seed. He will face unseeded Aaron Sulzer (19-9) of Eastern Michigan in the first round and will carry a 26-5 record into nationals. Back on November 26, Lister defeated Sulzer 8-4 in BU’s dual win over Eastern Michigan at the Northeast Duals. Lister has pinned three of his last four opponents and will be looking to duplicate the magic he produced at the 2010 NCAA Championship, where as an unseeded wrestler, he roared through the 157-pound bracket to reach the semifinals and place fourth in the nation. Lister has 15 pins this season and 38 in his career - second-most in program history. He captured his third straight CAA title over the weekend and all five of his defeats this season were against top-20 opponents and all came by four or fewer points.
Schiedel returns to the NCAAs for the third straight year after placing second at the CAA Championship. He will meet unseeded Brad Dieckhaus (14-1) of Northern Illinois in his first match. Schiedel is 28-8 overall, with all eight defeats coming to nationally-ranked opponents. He has won nine of his last 11 matches.
Binghamton’s two first-time participants received tough opening-round pairings with Gwiazdowski matching up against No. 2 Anthony Nelson (27-2) of Minnesota and Reed drawing No. 4 Christian Boley (30-1) of Maryland.
Gwiazdowski, the program’s most decorated high school recruit and a rare NCAA-qualifying “true” freshman, punched his ticket to St. Louis with a CAA championship. Gwiazdowski, 25-6 on the season, was No. 17 in the Coaches’ Ranking and knocked off Drexel’s defending CAA champion Kyle Frey 3-1 in a heated title bout. He has won 11 of his last 13 matches with his only losses coming to top-ranked foes. Gwiazdowski is one of only two freshmen heavyweights in the NCAA field of 33 (Austin Marsden of Oklahoma State).
Reed, 21-14, will make his first NCAA appearance in his second collegiate season. He placed fourth at the CAA Championship, missing an automatic entry only after an overtime loss in his final match. He was No. 30 in the latest Coaches’ Rank and has two recent wins over ranked opponents.
The Bearcats will depart for St. Louis on Tuesday with opening-round matches slated for Thursday morning from the Scottrade Center.
Fans can get ticket information at NCAA.com/tickets or follow the tournament all three days on ESPNU and ESPN3.