NCWA Championships - Thursday Recap 285

March 09, 2018 | Scott Farrell

285 lb. Recap
The top two seeds in this class could make for a great championship bout between two two-time All-Americans. But there's another prospective matchup that could be even more appealing with two heavyweights battling each other in the tournament's final match with the team title on the line. Jesse Gaudin of UCF is 27-3 on the season with back-to-back national runner-up finishes the past two seasons. He's the top seed this time around and favored to reach the finals match again. On the other side of the bracket sits 2-seed Dylan Stadel of Utah State, still undefeated at 7-0 on the season with two consecutive third-place finishes in this bracket. Their finals match would be one to see. Gaudin takes on 8-seed Ryan Mattison of Alfred State in the quarters. Mattison already has a pin and a major decision in the tournament.

But there's also that possibility that Liberty's 6-seed, Dominic Johnson, could slip into the final as well, perhaps pitting the two heavyweights in position to decide the overall champion between their teams that current sit in first and second place. Johnson has his hands full in the quarterfinals though facing another returning All-American in Donavan Lozada of Springfield Tech. Johnson already toppled another returning All-American in Austin Wells of Middle Tennessee, pinning him following a first-period pin in his opening match. Lozada has two first-period pins, including a 34-second finish in the round of 16.

Stadel scored two first-period pins to start the tournament, and now faces UMBC's Chukwudi Kalu, the 7-seed, in the quarters. The other quarterfinal is between the 4- and 5-seeds, Penn State-Fayette's Nathan Spinetti and Grand Valley State's Miguel Correa. Correa got a pin in the opener and edged out 6-0 and 4-2 decisions in the other rounds Spinetti scored a pin in his opening round followed by an 8-0 major decision over the 13-seed.