LHU and PSU wrestling matchups revealed for Nationals
By ANDY ELDER
For The Express
Fresh off its second straight Eastern Wrestling League championship, the Lock Haven University wrestling team hopes to ride that momentum into the 2019 NCAA Div. 1 Wrestling Championships on March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
The six Bald Eagles who won EWL titles and earned bids to the championships learned their seeds and first-round opponents when the NCAA released each Wednesday night.
Returning senior All-American Chance Marsteller (22-2) is the highest seeded Bald Eagle. He is fifth at 165 pounds. After finishing fourth at the 2018 championships, Marsteller will start his quest for a higher finish against No. 28 seed Carlson Brolsma (19-10) of Minnesota.
Senior 285-pounder Thomas Haines (23-4) is the next highest seeded Bald Eagle. He is No. 11 and will face No. 22 seed Billy Miller (16-7) of Virginia Tech in the first round.
Junior 141-pounder Kyle Shoop (31-6) is seeded No. 13. He faces No. 20 seed Matt Findlay (14-2) of Utah Valley.
Junior Corey Hazel (15-3) is seeded No. 16 at 184 pounds. He faces a first-round matchup with No. 17 Andrew McNally (31-7) of Kent State.
Junior DJ Fehlman (34-6) is seeded No. 24 at 133. He is paired with No. 9 seed Charles Tucker (27-4) of Cornell.
Junior Alex Klucker (21-9) is seeded No. 32 at 133 pounds, which means he faces a pigtail bout against No. 33 seed Ben Anderson (8-14) of Duke. A win in that bout would pair Klucker with No. 1 seed Jason Nolf (26-0) of Penn State, a two-time defending champion and three-time finalist.
Penn State earns three No. 1s, three No. 2s
Meanwhile, down the road in State College, the three-time defending champion Nittany Lions learned they had been accorded three No. 1 seeds and three No. 2 seeds as they try to win a fourth consecutive championship and eighth in the past nine years.
In addition to Nolf at 157, Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184) earned top seeds.
Hall (26-0), an undefeated junior, is a two-time finalist and one-time champion. He will meet the winner of a pigtail match between No. 33 Devin Kane (15-13) of North Carolina and No. 32 Jake Covaciu (17-12) of Indiana. Hall will be on the opposite side of the bracket from the man who defeated him in last year’s final, Zahid Valencia of Arizona State, who is seeded third.
It’s no surprise that Nickal, an undefeated (25-0) senior who is a two-time defending NCAA champion and three-time finalist, is the top seed at 197. He will meet the winner of a pigtail bout between No. 33 seed Rod Jones (20-18) of Chattanooga and No. 32 Ethan Laird (19-11) of Rider.
Three Nittany Lions — junior Vincenzo Joseph (165), senior Shakur Rasheed (184) and senior Anthony Cassar (285) — earned No. 2 seeds.
After losing in the Big Ten 165-pound final, the junior’s first loss of the season, two-time defending NCAA champion Joseph (23-1) was relegated to the No. 2 seed. The man who beat him, Iowa’s Alex Marinelli, snared the No. 1 seed. Joseph will meet No. 31 seed Evan Delong (16-13) of Clarion.
Despite medically forfeiting to Ohio State’s Myles Martin in the Big Ten final, undefeated (18-0) Rasheed is the No. 2 seed at 184. Martin is seeded first. Rasheed will meet No. 31 seed Kevin Parker (22-11) of Princeton.
Perhaps the most anticipated seeding decision of the 10 weights came at 285 pounds. Cassar (25-1) is seeded second behind Oklahoma State’s Derek White, who handed Cassar his only loss of the season, in January at the Southern Scuffle.
Cassar will meet No. 31 seed Zack Parker (15-12) of Ohio. He could potentially meet Minnesota’s Gable Steveson, the No. 3 seed who Cassar beat in the Big Ten finals and who also handed White his only loss, in the semifinals.
Nittany Lion sophomore Nick Lee (27-2) earned a No. 3 seed and faces No. 30 seed Nate Limmex (18-15) of Purdue.
Freshman 133-pounder Roman Bravo-Young earned a No. 10 seed. He will meet No. 23 Mario Guillen (17-3) of Ohio to open the tournament.
Finally, freshman 149-pounder Brady Berge (18-3) is seeded No. 12. His opponent will be No. 21 seed Khristian Olivas (21-11) of Fresno State.
The first round of the NCAA Championships will start at noon March 21.
Complete brackets for all 10 weights can be found at NCAA.com.