MANKATO, Minn. — Five Maverick wrestlers will travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to take part in the NCAA DII Wrestling Championships starting this Friday and concluding Saturday evening.
The five wrestlers representing Minnesota State at the tournament include George Farmah, Seth Elwood, Zach Johnston, Corey Abernathy and Matthew Blome. The five Mavericks at the National Championships are one more than the group that qualified to the tournament a year ago and are the highest total for the team since sending six qualifiers in the 2010-11 season.
Abernathy and Blome are each returning to the tournament after earning All-American status last season. Farmah, Elwood, and Johnston will all make their debuts at the tournament Friday.
Abernathy will wrestle at nationals for the second consecutive year after finishing third at 184-pounds in the Super Region 3 Tournament. The No. 7 ranked wrestler earned All-American status a season ago with an eighth-place finish and will take the mat against Nicola Fiegener (17-5) of California Baptist in his first match Friday.
Blome, a returning All-American from Mount Horeb, Wis., also qualified for his second straight trip to the National Championships with a third-place finish at regionals. Blome is the No. 10 ranked wrestler at 197-pounds and holds a 17-6 mark for Minnesota State including a team-high eight falls.
Farmah gained national recognition after finishing second in the 133-pound weight class at regionals and is the No. 9 rated wrestler in his weight class. Farmah is no stranger to the national stage, the St. Paul, Minn., native finished third at the NJCAA Championships last season while wrestling for Iowa Lakes Community College.
Elwood punched his ticket to the National Championships by claiming a Regional Championship at 165-pounds. The junior from Faribault, Minn., upset the No. 5 and No. 12 nationally ranked wrestlers en route to the title and is now the No. 5 rated wrestler in most recent NWCA poll. Elwood will wrestle Keegan Driscoll (22-13) from Wheeling Jesuit in the first round of matches Friday.
Johnston is the highest rated Maverick competing at the National Championships. Johnston is the No. 4 rated wrestler at 174-pounds and will take the mat at nationals after finishing second at the Super Region 3 Tournament. Johnston holds a 21-6 record this season, picking up 16 decision victories along the way. This will be the first National Championship appearance for the sophomore for Waukee, Iowa.
The Division II Wrestling Championships will begin Friday morning at 9 a.m., with preliminary and first found matches and resume at 6 p.m., with quarterfinals and consolation bracket matches. Saturday morning will feature semifinal matches and seventh, fifth and third-place matches at 10 a.m., with the finals taking place at 7 p.m., Saturday evening.