CLEVELAND, Ohio — A pair of seniors with one weekend left in their career, Colin Ayers and Clayton Wahlstrom made the most of day one at the DII wrestling national championships. Both individuals won both their opening-round and quarterfinal match, advancing to the semifinals and earning a guaranteed spot as an All-Americans.
Starting at 157 pounds, Colin Ayers opened with a strong performance vs. George McGuire of Gannon (PA) University. Ayers came out sharp, recording multiple takedowns in a 9-4 win.
Moving to the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon, Ayers was matched up with Skyler Lykins of the Colorado School of Mines. A close match early, both grapplers were able to score throughout the first two periods. Ayers took the lead and held off Lykins for a 12-9 win and berth in the national semifinals.
Ayers will now take on James Wimer of Findlay University in Ohio. The junior is 29-11 this year.
Moving to 197 pounds, Clayton Wahlstrom opened the national tournament against Ethan Sherertz of Maryville (MO). A close match early, Wahlstrom scored late to secure a 6-4 win in the quarterfinals.
Advancing the biggest match of his career thus far, Wahlstrom stepped up when needed most. Leading 2-1 in the 4th period vs. Ryan Vasbinder of McKendree (IL), Wahlstrom got Vasbinder on his chest for a two-point takedown.
Wahlstrom moved onto the final four at 197 lbs with a 4-1 win. The senior now takes on the nation’s No.1 seed at 197 lbs in Vince Dietz St. Cloud St. The defending national runner-up is 32-0 this season.
Session III will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday and will feature the semifinals, third round consolations, the consolation semis, and the third, fifth and seventh place matches. Session IV will begin at 7 p.m. and include the finals of the weight classes.