St. Cloud, Minn. — The Minnesota State wrestling team qualified five wrestlers to the NCAA Division II National Championships on Saturday afternoon. Seth Elwood won a Regional Championship while four others placed in top-four positions to advance.
Elwood finished the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record and the title at 165-pounds. On Saturday Elwood gained a 13-4 major decision over Jesse Reser (Central Missouri) to reach the finals and then upset No. 12 Blake Perryman (Northern) in the championship match by a score of 10-8. Elwood gained a third-period reversal to separate himself from Perryman and outlasted the Northern State wrestler to claim the title. This will be the Faribault, Minn., natives first National Championship appearance for the Mavericks.
George Farmah advanced to the national tournament with a second-place finish at 133-pounds. Farmah trailed No. 5 Hunter Haralson (Lindenwood) in the quarterfinals before hitting a six-point move to win in the final minute of the match by a 6-2 decision. In the finals Farmah could not capture a positive result over No. 4 Josh Walker (Upper Iowa), dropping the match by decision.
Zach Johnston advanced to the finals of the 174-pound weight class after outlasting No. 7 Jordan Gundrum of Upper Iowa. Johnston and Gundrum wrestled to an 8-8 score after seven minutes with Johnston earning a final ride-time point to take the decision. Johnston would withdraw due to medical forfeit before wrestling in the final against No. 6 Nick Foster (Mckendree). The Waukee, Iowa., natives second place finish would be good enough to send the sophomore to his first National Championship tournament.
Corey Abernathy lost a narrow 4-3 decision in the quarterfinals to No. 7 Tyree Overton (St. Cloud) and had to navigate through the consolation bracket to land a spot in the third-place match. Abernathy won an 11-4 decision over Keegan Berry (Minot) in the consolation semi-final match and then a 5-3 decision in the third-place match to claim third at 184-pounds. Abernathy will be making his second straight appearance at nationals after finishing eighth last season.
Matthew Blome finished the regional tournament with a 4-1 record and a third-place finish at 197-pounds. Blome’s only loss came in the semifinal match against No. 4 Vince Dietz of St. Cloud. Blome bounced back with a 3-2 decision against Jackson Ryan (SMSU) and a 7-1 decision over Samuel Reeves (Truman) in the third-place match. Blome scored an early takedown and nearfall to lead 6-0 against Reeves and confidently saw out the remainder of the match. Blome will now make his second appearance at nationals in as many years.
Daniel Close took the fifth-place match at 157-pounds against Brock Benitz (Upper Iowa) into sudden victory after trailing early in the first period. Close could not outlast Benitz, conceding a takedown and the match, finishing sixth. Andrew McFall finished in sixth place with a tournament record of 2-3. McFall was 17-8 this season for Minnesota State and held a 7-3 dual record. Kyle Rathman concluded his freshman campaign with a sixth-place finish at 149-pounds. Rathman defeated No. 12 Damian Penichet (Upper Iowa) in the consolation semifinals before falling in the fifth-place match. Chris Zimmer was forced to withdraw from his only match of the day due to an injury default and was unable to advance.
As a team, Minnesota State finished the tournament with 95.5 points, good for fourth place out of 15 teams.
The Mavericks will have another short break before traveling to compete in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa., March 9-10.