The #1 ranked St. Cloud State University wrestling team (16-0, 8-0 NSIC) will open defense of its national title on Friday, March 13 in the first day of action at the 2020 NCAA Division II wrestling championships, which will be held at the Denny Sanford Premiere Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The top-ranked Huskies have won NCAA Division II team titles in 2019, 2018, 2016 and 2015 under the direction of head coach Steve Costanzo. SCSU will look to continue their tradition of NCAA success in 2020 as the Huskies will be sending nine qualifiers to compete in Sioux Falls this weekend. The first round of matches will begin on Friday, March 13 at the Denny Premiere Sanford Center.
On March 13, the doors will open for the first round at 10 a.m. and matches are slated to get underway at 11:00 a.m. The traditional grand march of NCAA wrestlers will take place at 4:15 p.m. on March 13 with the evening session matches beginning at 5:00 p.m. The third session of matches on Saturday, March 14 is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m. The tournament’s parade of All-Americans will be held at 6:40 p.m. with the final round of championship bouts taking place at 7:00 p.m. on March 14.
Tickets for the championships are available at the gate or you can purchase them online. For complete information on the upcoming NCAA championships in Sioux Falls, please visit: https://goaugie.com/sports/2020/1/10/2020-ncaa-wrestling-championship.aspx
Here is a rundown of the first round match-ups for the Huskies:
At 133-pounds, SCSU’s Garrett Vos will be making his second trip to the NCAA championships and he enters the tournament with a 17-0 record. Vos is seeded #2 and will face Cody Karstetter (13-5) of Central Oklahoma in the opening bout. The top seed in the tournament is Hunter Bray of Notre Dame of Ohio, who owns a 24-2 record this season. Vos earned All-America status in 2019 with a sixth-place finish at 133-pounds.
Joey Bianchini will be making his first NCAA appearance for the Huskies. He is seeded fifth with a 20-1 overall record this season. His first-round matchup will be against Zachary Van Alst of Coker, who owns a 6-3 record this season. The number one seed at 141-pounds is Isaiah Royal (23-2) of Newberry, who was the 141 runner-up in 2019.
A three-time All-American for the Huskies, James Pleski (20-3) has earned a #2 seed at 149-pounds and will begin his NCAA tournament with a first-round bout against Gavin Melendez of CSU-Pueblo (22-9). Defending NCAA champ at 149, Chris Eddins of Pitt-Johnstown is the number one seed at the tournament with a 27-2 overall record. Earlier this season, Pleski lost a close 3-2 match against Eddins in a dual that the Huskies won 31-6.
Jake Barzowski will be making his second trip to the NCAA championships and has earned a #2 seed in 2020. He owns an 18-2 record this season and will face Mike Clark of Mercyhurst (19-13) in first-round action. The top seed at the tournament is Tiffin’s Trey Grine (22-1). Barzowski placed third at last year’s NCAA championships to earn All-America honors at 157-pounds.
Devin FitzPatrick gained All-America honors in 2019 with a sixth-place finish for SCSU. He returns this season at the #2 seed with an 18-1 record. In his first-round match, FitzPatrick will match up against Noah Tair of Davis & Elkins (29-12). The top seed is Nick Foster of McKendree (25-1), who gained a close OT win over FitzPatrick in the title match at the 2020 NWCA DII National Duals. SCSU went on to win the dual match by a 17.0-16.0 margin over McKendree to capture this season’s NWCA DII National Duals title.
One of six #2 seeds for the Huskies entering the tournament, Kolton Eischens is a two-time All-American for the Huskies at 174-pounds. He owns an 18-1 record that includes eight falls this season for SCSU. He will face Logan Nelson (25-8) of Simon Fraser in the first round at the NCAA tournament. Robert Gambrell of Colorado School of Mines is the number seed with an 18-1 record. Eischens placed fourth at the 2019 NCAA championships and Gambrell was 1-2 in NCAA tournament action last season.
Tyree Overton will be returning to the NCAA championships after a redshirt season in 2019. Overton was an NCAA qualifier in 2018 for the Huskies and has earned a #2 seed for the 2020 tournament. He received a first-round bye and will advance in the 2020 bracket to face the winner of the first-round match between #7 seed Tony Vezetti of Notre Dame (OH) and Trevor Turniff of MSU, Mankato. The number one seed in the tournament is Heath Gray (29-1) of Central Oklahoma. Gray placed third at the 2019 NCAA championships.
Noah Ryan will be making his first trip to the NCAA championships in 2020. He owns an 18-4 record this season and has received a number eight seed at 197-pounds for the 2020 NCAA meet. His first-round opponent will be Chris Droege (23-7) of Lake Erie. Ryan Vasbinder of McKendree is the #1 seed at 197-pounds with a 29-1 record.
At 285-pounds, SCSU’s Ezayah Oropeza will open NCAA tournament action against #8 seed Weston Hunt of Colorado School of Mines. Oropeza is 16-4 this season for the Huskies and Hunt is 14-2. Andrew Dunn of Kutztown, the defending NCAA champ at 285-pounds, is the meet’s number seed with a 20-0 record in 2019-20.