No. 3 Huskies capture seventh consecutive Super Region Title

St. Cloud State advances six to NCAA DII National Championships, five Huskies crowned Super Region Champions

ABERDEEN, S.D. – No. 3 St. Cloud State Wrestling earned their seventh consecutive NCAA Super Region Championship while qualifying six wrestlers – five of which are Super Region Champions – for the upcoming NCAA Tournament in Cedar Rapids. The 2023 Super Region title is the program’s 10th earned under the direction of head coach Steve Costanzo.

Joey Bianchini became the program’s second four-time Region/Conference Champion by earning the title at 149 pounds after winning the 141-pound championship each of the past four years – joining Brett Velasquez as the only two Huskies to earn the illustrious honor. 174-pounder Abner Romero claimed his third career Super Region Championship and first in Super Region V while true sophomore Nick Novak became a two-time Super Region V Champion with the title at 157 pounds. Dominic Murphy and Caleb Meekins each earned their first career Super Region V titles at 197 and 133, respectively while Anthony Herrera clinched his second straight NCAA Tournament berth with a runner-up finish at 165 pounds.

Alyeus Craig placed fourth at 133, Bryce FitzPatrick took fifth at 184, Paxton Creese placed sixth at 125 and heavyweight Elijah Novak added a sixth-place finish to ensure all 10 Huskies wrestlers earned a top-six finish. SCSU won the Super Region with 130.5 team points followed by Augustana (106.0), UW-Parkside (97.5), Mary (89.0) and Upper Iowa (80.0) in the top five.

NCAA Division II Super Region 5 Qualifier Results

125 – No. 5 Paxton Creese places sixth
Quarterfinal: No. 5 Paxton Creese (SCSU) fall Oscar Nellis (MSU), 3:36
Semifinal: No. 7 Shane Corrigan (UWP) dec. No. 5 Paxton Creese (SCSU), 5-1
Consi Semi: Landen Fischer (NSU) by injury default over No. 5 Paxton Creese (SCSU), 1:06
Fifth Place Match: Jaden VerHagen (MARY) by medical forfeit

133 – Caleb Meekins is Super Region V Champion and advances to NCAA Tournament
Quarterfinal: Caleb Meekins (SCSU) fall Teagan Block (NSU), 3:24
Semifinal: Caleb Meekins (SCSU) dec. James Davis (MSU), 6-2
Finals: Caleb Meekins (SCSU) by injury default over No. 3 Reece Barnhardt (MARY), 0:33

141 – No. 11 Alyeus Craig places fourth
Quarterfinal: Hunter Burnett (AUGIE) dec. No. 11 Alyeus Craig (SCSU), 11-5
Consi Round 3: No. 11 Alyeus Craig (SCSU) dec. Kolton Roth (NSU), 9-6
Consi Semi: No. 11 Alyeus Craig (SCSU) dec. No. 12 Brock Luthens (KATO), 5-2
Third Place Match: No. 5 Tate Murty (UIU) dec. No. 11 Alyeus Craig (SCSU), 5-2

149 – No. 7 Joey Bianchini is Super Region V Champion and advances to NCAA Tournament
Quarterfinal: No. 7 Joey Bianchini (SCSU) dec. Leo Mushinsky (MARY), 4-1
Semifinal: No. 7 Joey Bianchini (SCSU) dec. Connor Simmonds (AUGIE), 9-3
Finals: No. 7 Joey Bianchini (SCSU) dec. No. 6 Jalen Spuhler (UWP), 4-3

157 – No. 2 Nick Novak is Super Region V Champion and advances to NCAA Tournament
Round 1: No. 2 Nick Novak (SCSU) TF Nathan Baca (MSU), 17-0 at 6:03
Quarterfinal: No. 2 Nick Novak (SCSU) TF Peyton Mingling (MSUM), 19-1 at 4:39
Semifinal: No. 2 Nick Novak (SCSU) MD Miles Fitzgerald (AUGIE), 10-0
Finals: No. 2 Nick Novak (SCSU) dec. Devin Bahr (NSU), 4-1

165 – No. 10 Anthony Herrera is Super Region V Runner-up and advances to NCAA Tournament
Quarterfinal: No. 10 Anthony Herrera (SCSU) dec. Chase Bloomquist (NSU), 3-2
Semifinal: No. 10 Anthony Herrera (SCSU) dec. Riley Noble (MARY), 8-2
Finals: No. 1 Shane Gantz (UWP) dec. No. 10 Anthony Herrera (SCSU, 6-1

174 – No. 1 Abner Romero is Super Region V Champion and advances to NCAA Tournament
Quarterfinal: No. 1 Abner Romero (SCSU) dec. Cannon Potts (MSU), 7-1
Semifinal: No. 1 Abner Romero (SCSU) MD No. 8 Kolby Kost (AUGIE), 8-0
Finals: No. 1 Abner Romero (SCSU) dec. No. 2 Max Bruss (MARY), 5-0

184 – Bryce FitzPatrick places fifth
Round 1: Bryce FitzPatrick (SCSU) fall Brody Nielsen (KATO), 2:18
Quarterfinal: Bryce FitzPatrick (SCSU) dec. No. 9 Cade Mueller (AUGIE), 10-6
Semifinal: No. 7 Reece Worachek (UWP) dec. Bryce FitzPatrick (SCSU), 2-0
Consi Semi: No. 8 Wyatt Lidberg (MARY) dec. Bryce FitzPatrick (SCSU), 5-0
Fifth Place Match: Bryce FitzPatrick (SCSU) fall Cayden White (MSU), 1:04

197 – No. 10 Dominic Murphy is Super Region V Champion and advances to NCAA Tournament
Quarterfinal: No. 10 Dominic Murphy (SCSU) dec. Max Villnow (KATO), 7-3
Semifinal: No. 10 Dominic Murphy (SCSU) dec. Matt Kaylor (MARY), 4-1
Finals: No. 10 Dominic Murphy (SCSU) dec. No. 3 Cole Huss (NSU), 2-1 SV-1

HWT – Elijah Novak places sixth
Quarterfinal: Jake Swirple (MSU) dec. Elijah Novak (SCSU), 1-0
Consi Round 3: Elijah Novak (SCSU) dec. Zach Peterson (AUGIE), 3-0
Consi Semi: Andre Baguma (MSUM) dec. Elijah Novak (SCSU), 4-2 SV-2
Fifth Place Match: No. 9 Zach Ryg (UIU) dec. Elijah Novak (SCSU), 2-0

Quotables – St. Cloud State head coach Steve Costanzo

“I’m really proud of our team. We had all 10 guys get to top-six, six finalists and five champions. Overall it was a really good day – we’re really proud of them. They’ve handled adversity pretty well. We’ve been hit with some challenges throughout the year – our guys stayed the course, believed in the process, stuck with the process and for the most part it paid off.”

On Joey Bianchini’s fourth Super Region title… “It’s a super rare accomplishment. We knew what was on the line, and he knew what was on the line. I’m just super happy for him – like I’ve said, very proud of him.”

On Abner Romero’s third career regional title… “He was gritty. He was focused, he was in control and he dominated. A splendid performance on his part – I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in two weeks.”

On Caleb Meekins’ championship… “We knew Caleb or Sam could get the job done. It was just a matter of doing it. The two really complimented each other well this year – each one had to raise the bar each week. I think it paid off for Caleb. We went with Caleb, and to get a Super Region Champ out of it is super sweet.”

On Nick Novak winning his second straight title… “I just saw an individual that was in control, confident and dominant. He just wrestled lights-out. He showed off some super-smart wrestling, and just a great performance.”

On Dominic Murphy’s first Super Region title… “That was a tough class. Dom was workman-like throughout the day, persistent, stayed on his attacks, wrestled in all positions – a super gritty performance by him in the finals. I’m really proud of him for winning that first region championship.”

On Anthony Herrera qualifying for his second NCAA Tournament… “He was looking really good throughout the day – even in that finals match. He was in on a couple shots but just couldn’t capitalize on them. He had a really good performance. I think he’s at a different level right now than he’s been the rest of the year, really getting comfortable with the weight class. We’re looking for big things for him over the next couple of weeks.”

“Alyeus Craig took fourth, probably one takedown from the national tournament – he’s had a great year. He did a good job today as well – there’s really good things in store for him in the future. I’m proud of him, and I’m proud of all 10 guys. They battled. It’s a really tough region. There’s more parity in the region than I think there’s ever been. If you get out of here as a qualifier, you have a good chance to become an All-American.”

On the program’s consistency at the Regional level… “You just try to put your best foot forward each year, put your best 10 guys on the mat – develop them the right way over the course of the season. Fortunately we’ve had a lot of success over the years. This year’s regional title is special in its own way. I’m really appreciative of the effort all 44 guys gave this year to help out with this regional championship.”

Looking ahead to the two weeks of preparation for the NCAA Tournament… “We want to get our guys healthy. We’ll give them a couple of days off from what they’ve been through. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for them leading up to the tournament, getting through the day as well. Get them a couple of days’ rest, then get back at it and sharpen up some of our skills. We’ll do a little bit of problem solving, then get ready to go down and make some noise in Cedar Rapids.”

Up Next
St. Cloud State’s six NCAA qualifiers will begin preparations for the 2023 NCAA Championships held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa over March 10-11.

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