NCWA Championships - Thursday Recaps 174 and 184

March 09, 2018 | Scott Farrell

174 lb. Recap

There are two returning All-Americans at 174 and both of them have reached the quarterfinals. But the talk in this class quickly turns to the team race where Liberty, Apprentice, UCF and BYU each have a representative still alive for the title but none of them facing each other in the quarters.

Of keen interest is the pairing of Dan Henson of Apprentice, who as the 21-seed is the lowest-seeded wrestler still alive in any championship bracket. Henson advanced by injury default against fifth-seeded and local rival Brandon Buckingham of UMBC, and now faces 4-seed John Prentice of Penn State-DuBois. Prentice is a returning All-American who took fifth at 165 in 2016. Prentice won by 10-3 and 4-1 counts to reach the quarters.

Opposite that pairing in the top half of the bracket is Noah Curreri of Queens, who had three first-period pins Thursday to cruise into the quarterfinals. He’ll face Edward Maisey of BYU, the 9-seed whose second of two major decisions on the day came as a 17-3 win over eighth-seeded Thomas Hatzipavlides of the Penn State Wrestling Club. 

At the bottom of the bracket is another feature match between two-time All-American Shane Brown of Akron, the 2 seed, taking on 7 seed Ethan Ahrens of UCF. Brown scored a handful of bonus points Thursday with two pins and a major decision, while Ahrens scored a pin to go with a major decision among his three first-day wins. The other quarterfinal pairs Liberty’s 3 seed, Sam Karel, against Springfield Tech’s Jacob Berry. Karel had a pin and a tech fall on the first day, while Karel scored a pin and a major decision to reach the quarters.

184 lb. Recap

The team title will take an interesting turn following the results of the quarterfinals here. Three returning All-Americans are still alive in the championship side of the bracket, with two of the eight quarterfinalists from UCF and one from Liberty. And they're all on the same side of the bracket.

The highlight match here comes at the top of the bracket where George VanValen of Alfred State is one win away from a third All-American finish. He's the top seed and cruised into the quarters with a tech fall and a major decision. VanValen, 39-1 on the season, takes on UCF's Brad Kata, the 8-seed. Kate had a first-period pin and a major decision on the first day. It's a key match for UCF, but it comes against one of the tournament's heavy title favorites.

Opposite them is UCF's returning All-American Jarrod Smiley, the 5-seed. Smiley cruised through the first day, but now has one of the tournament's key matches taking on Liberty's Joshua McIlhenny, the 4-seed, in the quarters. At this point in the tournament it's a key match for UCF where it could have both its wrestlers facing off in the semi's.

George Andrews of Connecticut is the other returning All-American in the bracket. Seeded sixth, he's advanced with a pin and a tech fall and will face 3-seed Jerron Thomas of Mott Community College. The bottom of the bracket has second-seeded Vincent Levin of Florida Gulf Coast taking on Brenden DeVries, the 7-seed of Grand Valley State. Levin scored a first-period pin and a major decision on the first day.