Emmanuel Repeats as NCWA Champion

March 12, 2017 | Scott Farrell

ALLEN, Texas –Emmanuel College posted 233.5 points, culminated by three individual champions, and won its second consecutive NCWA title. The Lions became the first team to win back-to-back NCWA titles since Grand Valley State did so from 2006-08.

Emmanuel didn’t have to look far for its champions in this the 20th version of the NCWA Championships. Two of the Lions were repeat champions, as Cody Chaney won the 184-pound class and Maveric Rechsteiner won the 197 bracket. Chaney won 4-0 over George Van Valen of Alfred State, and Rechsteiner held off Kyler Slade of the Ohio State Wrestling Club late to take a 4-2 win.

Jeremiah Lutz, the Lions’ top seed at 149, improved on this third-place finish of a year ago (at 157) to win the title, pinning freshman Ryan Kemmerer of Temple in 1:08. Kemmerer is the first wrestler from Temple to become an All-American during the Owls’ NCWA membership.

Liberty, which took second with 155 points, had an individual champion in Josh Ferenczy, who beat Clay Kocsis of Penn State-Mont Alto in the 174 final. Ferenczy, the runner-up at 174 last year, ended Kocsis’ undefeated season, leaving him with a 30-1 record. Kocsis’ career record was 120-11, a 91.6 percent winning percentage, one of the NCWA’s all-time career-best.

Liberty had eight All-Americans overall in Jonathan Sigler (6th, 141), Brandon Robinson (4th, 149), Richard Cerebe (8th, 165), Taylor Westlake (4th, 184), Austin Amos (8th, 197) and Dominick Johnson (5th, 285).

Central Florida took third with 141 points, led by Justus Griffith’s gold medal in the 133 match. Griffith topped Emmanuel’s defending champion, Darius Bunch, in the final in overtime on tiebreaker two. The Knights also had Tim Sakow (125) and Jesse Gaudin (285)  reach the finals.  

Grand Valley State was fourth with 137.5 points, and Air Force Academy Prep launched up the standings on the final day to place fifth with 100.5 points, paced by three individual champions. Anthony DeCesare led things off with the 125 title, followed soon by back-to-back winners at 157 and 165 in Parker Simington and Jacoby Ward, respectively. Simington shaved past Florida’s Beau Doerr, 4-3, while Ward moved past Bailey Carlson of BYU, 8-1, in their final. Carlson was BYU’s first finalist in four seasons in the NCWA, and the Cougars have now produced All-Americans in consecutive seasons despite their young program.

One of the finals’ best matches came between Connecticut’s Stevan Webb and Harun Bogdanic of Grand Valley State in the 235 final. Webb, last year’s runner-up here, won UConn’s first NCWA title with a 7-5 win over Bogdanic, who was one of six All-Americans for the Lakers to give them 125 total All-American finishes in 19 seasons with the NCWA.

Maine also earned its first finalist, the then its first champion when Brent Waterman won the 141 bracket with a 13-3 major decision over Zach Vatalare of the Michigan Wrestling Club. By reaching the finals rounds, Vatalare became the 28th four-time All-American in NCWA history, and Michigan’s first national finalist.

 Rickey Carter finished off a three-time All-American career with a tough 2-1 overtime win over Central Florida’s Gaudin that was decided on the second tiebreaker. Carter is the only All-American in Florida A&M’s NCWA history.

Defending its women’s team title was Southwest Oregon CC, which score 97.5 points ahead of runner-up Ottawa with 69.5 points. Repeating as individual champions for Southwest Oregon CC were Carly Jaramillo at 143 and Tatum Sparks of Southwestern Oregon at 155 pounds. Both scored pins in the finals, with Jaramillo stopping Michelle Duong of Florida in 1:17 and Sparks putting away Tianna Roy of Springfield Tech CC in 1:21. Other individual champions for Southwest Oregon CC were Fayth Woodward (116) and Ebony Ayers (191).

Samantha Frank of Maine became the most decorated wrestler of the NCWA’s Women’s Division, not only winning the 101 bracket for a third consecutive year, but also earning the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award for a third straight year. Marina Goocher of Michigan-Dearborn was another repeat champion at 136. North Texas set a program record with a third-place national finish with 32 points, and new NCWA entry Richland College scored 26 for fourth, followed by Maine in fifth with 18 points.

NCWA.net will have more on the 20th Annual NCWA Championships in the following days.