Manheim, Pennsylvania — Heading into the 2017 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships next week, the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) has announced regional award winners from the four Division II Super Regions.
In Super Region 1, true freshman Isaiah White of Notre Dame (OH) was named both the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Super Region 1 championships, and also the Super Region 1 Freshman of the Year.
White, who is 20-2 heading into this year’s national tournament, was the three-seed at 165. En route to the bracket championship, White knocked off two-seed and defending National Champion Tyler Reinhart of Pitt.-Johnstown 6-1 in the semifinal. In the finals, White bested then-#1 and top-seeded Francis Mizia of Mercyhurst by major decision, 13-3. He will face off with Jason Buhr of Colorado Mesa in first-round NCAA action Friday.
The Super Region 1 Coach of the Year is Gannon’s Don Henry. The 33-year head man for the Golden Knights, Henry guided his program to a second-place finish at the Super Region 1 championships, placing nine in the top 5. Gannon’s team finish and number of national qualifiers represented the program’s most since placing second and qualifying six during the 2010 NCAA Division II Super Region 1 tournament. The Golden Knights went 8-2 on the season in dual action, including wins over Wheeling Jesuit, Lake Erie and Mercyhurst.
The Super Region 2 Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament was Wisconsin-Parkside’s Nick Becker. In a loaded bracket at 174, the top-ranked Becker recorded a pin and a major decision before facing two-seed and #2 Blaze Shade of UNC-Pembroke in the regional final. The rematch of last year’s national final from a year ago saw Becker (21-0) keep his record unblemished, as he took down Shade 4-1 to win his second-straight Super Region 2 title at 174.
Blake Glougouski of Lake Erie was named the Super Region 2 Freshman of the Year after winning the 125 pound weight class as the bracket’s three-seed. The true-freshman posted a major decision in his first round match over Sebastian Vidika, and followed that up with a pin of two-seed and two-time National Qualifier Trung Duong of Newberry in the semifinals. Glougouski then took the Super Region title with a 6-4 upset of #3 and top-seeded Ronzel Darling of Wisconsin-Parkside to earn his first trip to Nationals.
Super Region 2 champion UIndy’s head coach Jason Warthan earned the nod as the Coach of the Year. The Greyhound head man is in his eighth year at UIndy, and guided his team to a 14-9 dual mark this year, good for a tie for most dual wins in a season ever by a UIndy team. The Super Region title was the second in program history for the Greyhounds, with the first also coming under Warthan in 2014. UIndy’s dual season was highlighted by upsets of #1 St. Cloud State and then-#5 Wisconsin-Parkside in January, with the #18 Greyhounds sending four to the National meet next week in Birmingham.
The Super Region 3 tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler was senior 133 Blake Bosch of Minnesota State-Moorhead. Bosch, the top seed at 133 in Super Region 3, ran through the tournament posting a pair of major decisions and a pin en route to the bracket championship. The two-time All-American, who is 26-1 heading to the NCAA meet, took his only loss of the year to a DI foe, and is now a four-time National Qualifier.
The Freshman of the Year in Super Region 3 is Brandon Carroll of Augustana (S.D.). The 125-pounder was the runner up to defending National Champion and #1 Brett Velasquez at the regional meet, but avenged a pair of earlier losses. Carroll, who is currently 20-11, took a 12-11 win over Carlos Jaquez of Lindenwood and pinned Upper Iowa’s Maleek Williams en route to his runner-up finish, with the true freshman having lost to both of those opponents during the regular season.
No. 4 McKendree’s Head Coach James Kisgen was named the Super Region 3 Coach of the Year, after leading his team to a runner-up finish at the event. The Bearcat mentor’s team went 19-4 during the regular season, knocking off Notre Dame twice, Nebraska-Kearney, Findlay, UW-Parkside, UIndy and Upper Iowa in dual action. In his 14th year as the McKendree head coach, Kisgen will have six wrestlers at the NCAA meet.
In Super Region 4, California Baptist’s Jacob Waste is the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the regional tournament. The nation’s top-ranked wrestler at 197 heading into Nationals, Waste went fall-tech fall-tech fall on his way to the bracket finals at the Regional. As the bracket one-seed, Waste came up against #2 John Inman in the 197 final, taking a 5-2 win. Waste, who heads to the NCAA meet with a record of 23-3, has only taken losses to DI opponents.
Brandon Ball of Fort Hayes State was voted the Super Region 4 freshman of the year, after winning a regional championship at 141. The bracket one-seed, Ball avenged an earlier loss on the season to Josh Ailey of Central Oklahoma in the 141 final, defeating Ailey 6-2 for the championship. The redshirt freshman boasts a record of 35-5 heading into his first Nationals.
The Super Region 4 Coach of the Year is California Baptist’s Lennie Zalesky. The Lancer head coach will take a program-best seven to Nationals, the third-best total of any team in the field, after leading his team to its first-ever regional title. Zalesky, who transitioned the Cal Baptist program to NCAA Division II five years ago, led his team to a 9-8 dual record during the regular season including a win over Colorado State-Pueblo.
Division II will wrap its 2016-17 season next week at the NCAA Division II Winter Sports Festival, with wrestling crowning its 10 individual champions and one team champion March 10-11 in Birmingham.