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Appren­tice Wins Two on Day One at National Duals

| Apprentice SID

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -The Apprentice School wrestling squad went 2-1 in pool B action on day one at the NCWA National Duals. The Builders notched a pair of dominant wins before falling to NCAA DI Bellarmine (KY).

The first round of action saw the Builders shut out conference rivals Emory & Henry NCAA DII, 59-0. Recording pins were Bruno Alves (125), Dillon Messick (133), David Norris (157), David McElravy (184), Matthew Henson (197) and Peter Cortapasso (285).

In the second round, Apprentice stopped NCAA DI Queens (N.C.), 38-13. The lightweights put on a show putting the Builders up 20-0 after pins from

Seed­ings set for NCWA Nation­al Duals in Louisville

| Liberty SID

Liberty University’s four-time-defending NCWA National Duals tournament champion men’s wrestling team is seeded No. 1 out of eight teams in the field for this Friday’s and Saturday’s event hosted by the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.

The tournament is being held for the first time in conjunction with the multi-divisional National Duals, with separate brackets for NCAA Division II men, NCAA Division III men, NCAA women, NAIA men, and NAIA women. A complete list of teams is available on the website.

The seedings for the tournament were determined partly by ranking procedures and partly by

New Year! New Rank­ings in the Women’s Division!

| Bryan Knepper

Change is inevitable. The year changes, the weather changes, and yes even top wrestlers change weights!

The end of 2022 saw the two NCWA Women's powerhouse teams battle it out in the Las Vegas Desert Duals. While the dual was pretty one-sided with Ottawa - Arizona coming out on top over Grays Harbor College 32-4, the top of the individual rankings didn't move very the saying goes, the more things change, the more things stay the same...

The #1-ranked wrestlers in the NCWA Women's division are as follows: 101 - Hermelinda Mendoza (Jr, Ottawa-Arizona, 7-1), 109 - Daniela Suttles (Jr, Grand Canyon, 3-3), 116 - Brenna Andres (Sr, Winona State), 123 - Lauren Stone (Jr - Florida), 130 - Viveca Pannell (So, MIT, 6-3), 136 - Grace Miller (Jr, Grays Harbor, 12-5), 143 - Jocelyn Fierro (So, Grays Harbor), 155 - Maggie Palmore (Jr, Tampa), 170 - Maile Ka-ahanul (Jr, Liberty), 191 - Sarah Sams (Jr, MIT, 3-2), and 235 - Katie Moore (Jr, Stony Brook). Mendoza, Andres, Stone, Miller, Fierro, Palmore, Sams, and Moore are all returning National Champions at their respective weight classes. Pannell was previously ranked #2 at 123 but with a move to 130 is favored to win that weight.

The top-10 teams look similar to the first rankings of the year with the exception of newcomers Grand Canyon (AZ) and Pacific Lutheran (WA): #1 Ottawa - Arizona (62), #2 Grays Harbor (59), #3 Big Bend CC (26), #4 MIT (21), #5 Washington State (19), #6 Grand Canyon (15), #7 Western Washington (12), and 3 tied at #8 Colorado State, Pacific Lutheran, and Washington (9). While 7 of the #1 ranked wrestlers individually hail from East of the Mississippi, the overwhelming balance of power for teams lies out west with three teams representing the West Coast Conference and six teams representing the Northwest Conference (in fact all from the State of Washington).

For a full list of the newest NCWA Women's Division rankings click on READ MORE!

2023 NCWA Nation­al Duals Seeds and Bracket Released!

| Bryan Knepper

The seeding for the 2023 NCWA National Duals, which will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center January 6-7th as part of the NWCA's Multi-Divisional National Duals for the first time officially, has been announced. Prior National Duals for the NCWA were held from 2009 to 2022 at separate dates/venues from the other divisions. The seeding for the tournament was determined partly by ranking procedures and partly by a Coaches vote from the participating programs.

#1 Liberty University (NCWA-D1) - Lynchburg, VA
#2 Bellarmine University (NCAA-D1, transitioning team) - Louisville, KY
#3 University of Toledo (NCWA-D1) - Toledo, OH
#4 The Apprentice School (NCWA-D1) - Newport News, VA
#5 Grand Valley State University (NCWA-D1) - Allendale, MI
#6 Queens University of Charlotte (NCAA-D1, transitioning team) - Charlotte, NC
#7 University of Central Florida (NCWA-D1) - Orlando, FL
#8 Emory & Henry College (NCAA-D2, transitioning team) - Emory, VA

Day 1 of the event will feature round-robin pools. Pool A will feature #1 Liberty, #3 Toledo, #5 GVSU, and #7 UCF. Pool B will feature #2 Bellarmine, #4 Apprentice, #6 Queens, and #8 Emory & Henry.

Day 2 will see all 8 teams advance into a bracket based on pool results. The NCWA is the only division using this format and also the only division with a 235-lb weight class, which has been in existence in the NCWA since 1999 (the second NCWA championship held).

This tournament looks to be the toughest NCWA National Duals to date with the top-6 teams nationally present along with #9 UCF and #20 Emory & Henry. All together, the 8 teams will send out 26 returning All-Americans including 8 former NCWA National Champions, 11 Freshman that were State Champions, and a total of 22 of a possible 33 wrestlers ranked in the top-3 at their respective weight classes.

A full schedule and bracket can be accessed by clicking READ MORE.

For more information on the NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals click HERE.

Look what San­ta Deliv­ered! New NCWA Men’s Rankings!

| Bryan Knepper

Liberty still rules the NCWA rankings with 5-top ranked wrestlers and 85 total team points. The top-5 is rounded out by The Apprentice School (52), Bellarmine University (51), the University of Toledo (48), and Queens University of Charlotte (40). Bellarmine and Queens are currently transitioning to NCAA-D1 but are also members of the NCWA during that period. These teams along with Grand Valley State University (ranked #6, 30 pts), the University of Central Florida (ranked #9, 21 pts), and Emory & Henry College (ranked #20, 5 pts) will vie for a National Dual title in Louisville, KY on January 6-7, 2023 as part of the NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals.

The top-ranked wrestlers at each weight are: Dante Mininno (Sr, Liberty, 125), Kaden Blair (So, Toledo, 133), Jacob Grogan (Jr, Texas A&M, 141), Zach Blevins (Gr, Toledo, 149), Ian McIlhenny (Jr, Liberty, 157), Cole Nance (So, Bellarmine, 165), Luke Lardarello (Jr, Penn State - Mont Alto, 174), Seth Konynenbelt (Sr, Grand Valley State, 184), Josiah Murphy (Sr, Liberty, 197), Jeff Allen (Sr, Liberty, 235), and Frederick Weaver (Jr, Liberty, 285).

Of note, only 1 of the top-ranked wrestlers changed since the last rankings as Cole Nance pinned former #1 at 165 David Over (Liberty) during the Lindenwood Open.

The top five NCWA-D2 (non-Athletic Dept/non-Scholarship division teams) are Penn State WC (22), The Ohio State WC (18), Texas A&M (16), Fresno State WC (10), and Rutgers WC (9).

A full accounting of the top-20 in each of the 11 weight classes can be seen by clicking READ MORE.

Happy Holidays! Look for new NCWA Women's Rankings on New Year's Day!

New Doc­u­men­tary Will Explore Tole­do’s Great Wrestling His­to­ry and Its RISE Back to Prosperity

| Bryan Knepper

The University of Toledo started its NCAA-D1 program in 1949 under direction of legendary Joe Scalzo. By 1951, the Rockets established themselves as a powerhouse finishing in 6th place as a team with 6 NCAA qualifiers (there were only 8 weight classes at that time) and two All-Americans (Dick Torio and Harri Lanzi). 1952 saw the team rise to 4th place in the country with its first National Champion in Harri Lanzi at 191 lbs over George Myers of Iowa. Dick Torio again finished as an All-American and 3 other Rockets were NCAA Qualifiers. From 1953 - 1959, the Rockets added 15 more NCAA Qualifiers and 4 more All-Americans. The 1960s were not much different as Toledo amassed 28 NCAA Qualifiers and 6 All-Americans including 3x NCAA Runner-up Dick Wilson, who would represent the United States on many occasions on the World and Olympic teams. But perhaps the greatest run in Toledo's history was by Greg Wojciechowski ("The Great Wojo"). Wojo made three straight NCAA finals in the Unlimited weight class (would likely have been 4 but Freshman were ineligible) winning the NCAA title in 1971 over Dave Joyner of Penn State. Wojciechowski would famously make the 1980 Olympic Team that was boycotted by President Jimmy Carter. Altogether, Toledo had exactly 100 NCAA Qualifiers and 20 NCAA All-Americans from 1951 to 1994. In 1994, the NCAA-D1 program was eliminated along with its rich history. A history that included the founding of the World Cup by Joe Scalzo, Dick Torio, and Dick Wilson. A history in which that World Cup was hosted in Toledo 17 out of 19 years. A history that saw MULTIPLE Olympic and World Team members come out of the University.

Which brought us to 1997. A 17-year old Freshman decided to start the program back up and joined the fledgling National Collegiate Wrestling Association. 25 years later, that Freshman that knew nothing about the world but everything about determination is the Head Coach of a Scholarship program that is competing against NCAA competition week in and week out looking to recapture the glory that Toledo once had captured.

The documentary by LoudKid Films will capture Toledo's rich wrestling history in all its glory, the eventual crash that was as much about Title IX legislation as the 1980 Olympic boycott and politics, and the now resurgent NCWA team on its quest to capture the elusive National Championship that even the greatest teams of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s couldn't achieve. But this story isn't unique to Toledo, the film will likely invoke emotions and attachments to many other programs long abandoned. This is a story about the forgotten men and women that grind each and every day to make a living just to get by and never get recognized for their work. The goal with the current program and film is to provide a guiding light for others to follow down a pathway of redemption, out of the darkness, and to the pinnacle of the sport.

The Toledo Wrestling Foundation in association with LoudKid Films presents to you the RISE of Toledo Wrestling back to prominence.

Watch the trailer by clicking on Read more.. and while you're at it if so moved contribute to the resurgence:


| Williamson SID

Down 18-0 to start their match at Thaddeus Stevens on Saturday, the Williamson wrestling team never gave up. They kept chipping away at that lead until they eventually tied things up at 24-24 with one match remaining.

During that final match, senior Ainsley Doyle (SR/Wilmington, DE), ranked 11th in the nation at 133 pounds in the latest National Collegiate Wrestling Association rankings, found himself trailing 10-4 in the first period. Just like his team however, Doyle never gave up and kept at it. He scored a four point near fall in the second period to draw closer. Then after being reversed, he reversed things himself before eventually pinning his Bulldog opponent at the 4:04 mark to give Williamson

Dis­cov­er Puer­to Rico Pro­motes Sport­ing Events bring­ing $20M+ Windfall

| Discover Puerto Rico

A series of competitions for youth and collegiate athletes will generate more than $20 million for Puerto Rico’s economy and invigorate Puerto Rico’s development as a destination for sporting events and travel. Discover Puerto Rico announced. The events will take place between December 2022 and March 2023 and will promote the development of athletes from Puerto Rico and U.S. states in wrestling, swimming, gymnastics, and volleyball. Events, like the Laurie Hernández Champions Challenge and the National Collegiate Wrestling Championships are being held for the first time in Puerto Rico.

It’s Begin­ning to Look a Lot Like Rank­ings! NCWA Wom­en’s Rankings are Here…

| Bryan Knepper

The first Women’s Rankings of the season are here and the top-3 teams from last season are right back on top, but in a new order. Ottawa University – Arizona leads the division with 61 team points with Grays Harbor College right behind at 60 points. In a distant third in the rankings is Big Bend CC with 29 points after winning the team championship in 2022. Rounding out the top-10 are M.I.T. with their 3 outstanding wrestlers (21 points), Washington State (14), Western Washington (11), Michigan (10), and Colorado State, Fordham, Liberty, and Washington (8 points each).

Eight of the eleven women’s weight classes have returning National Champions with Hermelinda Mendoza (Jr, Ottawa-Arizona, 101), Brenna Andres (Sr, Winona State, 116), Lauren Stone (Jr, Florida, 123), Grace Miller (Jr, Grays Harbor, 136), Joceyln Fierro (So, Grays Harbor, 143), Maggie Palmore (Jr, Tampa, 155), Sara Sams (Jr, M.I.T., 191), and Katie Moore (Jr, Stony Brook, 235). Grace Miller of Grays Harbor has a chance to be a 3x National Champion when the NCWA heads to Puerto Rico in March of 2023. The other #1 ranked wrestlers are Sara Gaytan (So, Ottawa-Arizona, 109), Anna Rodriguez (So, Big Bend, 130) and Maile Ka-ahanui (Jr, Liberty, 170). In all, there are 27 returning All-Americans out of the 44 last season.

For a full accounting of the women’s rankings, please click on READ MORE!

Lib­er­ty wrestlers ral­ly past rival Chris­t­ian teams at first dual tournament

| Ted Allen

Grand Rapids, MI: In showdowns between a trio of Christian programs, Liberty University’s men’s wrestling team overcame 9- and 10-point deficits late in Friday’s opening match against host Cornerstone (Mich.) University and early in its clash with Wheaton (Ill.) College to emerge with 23-17 and 26-17 victories, respectively, in the first two rounds of pool play at the Blithe Memorial Duals in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Flames went on to dominate Siena Heights (Mich.) University, pulling away for a 34-10 triumph by winning the last six matches, including three by fall, to advance as the No. 1 seed out of Pool A. Liberty will face Albion (Mich.) College, the No. 2 seed out of Pool B, in Saturday’s championship quarterfinal match, with action expected to resume at 9 a.m. EST.

“So far, so good,” Flames Head Coach Jesse Castro said. “That was a grueling.

Eat, Sleep, School, Wrestling…Washington State is Thriv­ing on the Mats

| Gabrielle Bowman - Evergreen Reporter

WSU men’s wrestling is set to go to nationals in Puerto Rico.
The team will travel for the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Nationals in March 2023. It is one of the furthest trips the team has made. The team is thrilled for the opportunity to travel and to show their progress on a national stage.

David Darroch, sophomore management information systems major, is thrilled about the opportunity for the team. Darroch loves wrestling new people. He thinks one of the best ways to get to know someone is to scrap with them. He cannot wait to go out there and get that new feel.
“The travel opportunities wrestling has given me are huge and I would not give it up for the world,” Darroch said. READ MORE

How about some Rank­ings for Black Fri­day? First NCWA Men’s Rank­ings Show a 4‑Team Race for the Title

| Bryan Knepper

NOTE: Updated 11/28/22 at 1:15 AM due to Error at 133 lbs

The first Men’s Rankings for the NCWA are here and Liberty is once again top dog garnering 85 points (note that a perfect score would be 110). However, there are several teams chasing in a pack, ready to unseat Liberty from its 4-year title reign. Leading the chase is The Apprentice School, the team that finished runner-up in both the National Duals and the National Championships to Liberty last season, with 52 points.

Following close behind the Shipbuilders is the upstart Toledo Rockets fresh off a tie-breaking dual win over Apprentice with 51 team points. The only other team with over 40 points is Queens University of Charlotte, one of the many NCAA-transition teams within the NCWA this season, with 43 points. Rounding out the top-10 NCWA-D1 teams are Springfield Tech (30), Grays Harbor College (29), Grand Valley State (26), UNLV (16), Florida (13), and UCF (12). The NCWA-D2 team race is led by The Ohio State WC (26), Penn State WC (19), Texas A&M (14), Clemson (12) and Michigan WC (12).

There is a total of 66 Returning All-Americans in the field this season representing a total of 81 All-American seasons. The Flames of Liberty lead the way individually of course with six #1 ranked wrestlers including Dante Mininno (125, defending Champ), Ian McIlhenny (157, defending Champ), David Over (165, finished 2nd in 2022), Josiah Murphy (197, defending champ), Jeff Allen (235, defending Champ), and Frederick Weaver (285, defending Champ). The only other team with multiple #1 ranked wrestlers is Toledo with Kaden Blair (133, defeated the #2 ranked wrestler last weekend) and Zach Blevins (149, 3x NCWA finalist and 2018 Champion) leading the way for the Rockets. Rounding out the #1 ranked men are Jacob Grogan (Texas A&M, 141, 4th in 2022) who is the only NCWA-D2 wrestler in the top position, Luke Lardarello (Penn State – Mont Alto, 174, defending Champ), and Seth Konynenbelt (Grand Valley State, 184, 2nd in 2022).

Apprentice leads the field in #2 rankings with three guys poised to win a title: Bruno Alves (125), John Pierce (235), and Peter Cortapasso (285). Other #2 wrestlers include Michael Gonzalez (Springfield Tech, 133), Garett Good (Liberty, 141), Andrew Halko (Akron, 149), Hayden McCandless (Florida, 157), Nicholas Martino (Fresno State WC, 165), Grigol Khochiashvili (Temple, 174), Ben Liss (Rutgers WC, 184), and Matt Abraham (Toledo, 197).


The first NCWA Women's Rankings will be released next week!

Lib­er­ty Racks Up Four 3rd Place Show­ings at Lindenwood Open

| Bryan Knepper

Liberty University men’s wrestling seniors Jeff Allen and Rick Weaver, both defending NCWA Grand National champions, won consolation championships in separate heavyweight brackets of the Lindenwood Open, highlighting the Flames’ strong showing against a number of NCAA programs on Saturday in St. Louis.

Thanks­giv­ing Duals Set Ear­ly Stage for National Duals

| Bryan Knepper


The University of Toledo cut its NCAA-D1 wrestling program in 1994 due to Title IX. In 1997, current head coach Bryan Knepper re-started the program as a Freshman in the fledgling NCWA as one of its 20 original member institutions. Since 1997, there have been several programs that have proven dominant in the NCWA. Two of these programs are Grand Valley State University (GVSU, the Lakers) and The Apprentice School (APPR, the Shipbuilders). Grand Valley has perhaps been the most dominant program in the NCWA’s history and will be re-sponsoring an NCAA-D2 program in the fall of 2023. Since joining the NCWA in 2001, GVSU has accumulated 5 National Championships (2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2008) only matched by Liberty University last year. Grand Valley also boasts 3 National Dual Championships with 2 runner-up finishes. On top of that, GVSU leads the NCWA overall with 84 All-Americans including 50 National Finalists and 23 Individual National Champions. The Apprentice School is second when it comes to NCWA accolades as one of the other original 20 programs. Apprentice out of Newport News, VA boasts 1 National Championship title in 2009 with multiple runner-up showings including last season. The Shipbuilders have also finished runner-up in the National Duals 6 times including last season (Grand Valley finished 3rd). Since 1998, Apprentice has accumulated 68 All-Americans (2nd only to Grand Valley) including 33 National Finalists (3rd all-time) and 13 Individual National Champions (4th in history behind GVSU, Liberty and Central Florida). So it was with this knowledge that Toledo scheduled both GVSU and Apprentice to join the Rockets in its inaugural Thanksgiving Duals. As of 2022, Toledo had never beaten either program in a dual meet. In order to be considered one of the best, one needs to take on the best…and boy did the dual tournament deliver! The Toledo Rocket wrestling squad put out its first ever complete dual lineup and ended with a historic finish doing so at the previous home of two of its newest members at Liberty Center High School.

Grays Har­bor Dom­i­nates Big Bend in Men’s and Women’s Matchups

| Bryan Knepper

Aberdeen, WA - The Choker wrestling program hosted their first match of the season Saturday against Big Bend Community College. The Vikings came in shorthanded and the GHC squad did not give them any slack. The men's team dominated all the contested matches with pins and a technical fall. On the women's side, the Chokers did nearly as well by getting pins and tech falls and only dropping two of the contested matches.

"We were aggressive right off the whistle and never let up. It was consistent for both the men and the women," said Coach Kateri Rowell.

Kaden Blair Cham­pi­on at Ohio Inter­col­le­giate as Toledo Rolls On…

| Bryan Knepper

The University of Toledo Wrestling team had another outstanding performance this past weekend at the Ohio Intercollegiate Open (White Division) hosted by Case Western Reserve University with 3 placers out of 7 entrants in the event. Overall on the day, the Rockets went 4-2 against NCAA-D3 opponents, 7-6 against NCAA-D2, and an outstanding 3-1 against NCAA-D1! Anyone that doesn’t believe Toledo can compete with other divisions, simply isn’t paying attention at this point.

Builder Wrestling Places Four on Podi­um at Cougar Open

| William Harcum

DANVILLE, Va. - The Apprentice School wrestling squad sent an abbreviated lineup to Averett University over the weekend for their first competition of the 2022-23 season. Four Builders placed in a field of 300+ wrestlers at the Cougar Open.

Senior heavyweight Peter Cortapasso led the way for the team, as the lone finalist. The Virginia Beach native advanced to the championship bout with three consecutive wins before falling to Rayshawn Dixon of Ferrum via ultimate tiebreaker. Passo recorded a first period pin, a 2-1 overtime decision, and an ultimate tiebreaker win in the semifinals.

All-Americans Zach Ortega and David McElravy also had an outstanding day, both finishing in third place.

Chok­er Wrestlers Com­pete at Mountaineer Open

| Bryan Knepper

Lagrande, OR - The Choker wrestling team competed at the Mountaineer Open last weekend which was hosted by Eastern Oregon University. The field was tough with the likes of EOU, Corban, Warner Pacific and Oregon State University. There were also a number of small schools in attendance. The Chokers faired well and came home with 7 placers.

Coach Josh Pine pointed out that there were more placers this year compared to last year. "It's nice to see the growth from year to year, but the most important thing is that we make adjustments and improve from week to week. We are focused on our National tournament at the end of the season and we look at each event as an opportunity to get better," said Pine.

Elijah Gandert and Trevor Latta were the teams top performers with 4th place finishes. "Both wrestlers dropped their opening round matches and then battled through the back door to place and that is not easy. That just shows you they have heart...that's not really something you can teach," said assistant coach Chris Boeger.

The teams next event will be at Grays Harbor College this Saturday at 1pm vs Big Bend Community College. The next day the team will compete at the Mike Clock Open at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR.

Tole­do Con­tin­ues Ear­ly Pace with 5 Plac­ers at Adrian Invite

| Bryan Knepper

Coming off a successful first weekend at the Fall Brawl hosted by Mott Community College, the Toledo Rockets traveled 45 minutes north to take on the Adrian Invite. Five wrestlers competed in the Varsity Division (141–Kaden Blair, 149–Bryce Gilts,157–Ezekiel Burkholder, 197–Matt Abraham, and 285–JT Meek) and three competed in the Freshmen/Sophomore Division (157–Neiko Foster, 197–Owen Johnson, and 197–Andrew Foster).The Varsity Division had team scoring, while the F/S Division did not. Overall, the Rockets placed 9th out of 15 teams with Wabash University taking home the team title.

MIT Women’s Wrestling Dom­i­nates Prince­ton Open ; Sarah Sams Crowned Champion!

| Donald McNeil

Princeton University hosted an NCAA division one open tournament. This year, they added an open women’s division at the tournament. There were thirty women’s teams in attendance (varsity and club). This was the first time EVER that an NCAA division one open tournament hosted an open tournament with a women’s division.

MIT had four women represent the club at the Princeton University Open and all four women placed. There were thirty teams in attendance (varsity and club level) and each woman from MIT won two or more matches.