North Florida Matmen staff report
RENO, NV — Toiling in Division I wrestling rooms, and not being the anointed starter, or even certain if starting will happen down the road, can be a tough place to be for college wrestlers.
But there are times at open tournaments where there’s a chance to shine and state a case for that future. And Sunday at the Reno Tournament of Champions was Ethan Pickren‘s best chance to state his case thus far as part of the Arizona State program.
Pickren (South Walton ’19) won four matches in the tournament, going 4-2 in the event. After falling to Oklahoma’s Brice O’Hara, 7-5, in his opening round match, Pickren would win four matches on the back. starting with a tech fall over Corban’s Diego Castellanos, 17-2, in the round of 32.
After an 8-4 win over California Baptist’s Joshua Jimenez, Pickren then pinned Warner Pacific’s Zach Sias (1:53) and decisioned a second Oklahoma wrestler, Nikolas Chavez, 6-4.
That set up an all-Florida battle, where Pickren lost by technical fall, 16-1, to four-time Florida state champ and South Dade alum Brevin Balmeceda, now at Oklahoma State. Balmeceda would go on to finish fifth in the tournament.
Midwest Classic: At Indianapolis IN on December 14-15, Newberry was 13th in the two-day, 37-team Division II tournament, with four placers under Wolves head coach Cy Wainwright (Clay alum), led by Zebrandon Gant’s third at 184. Austin Palmer (157) was fourth, Isiah Royal (141) sixth and Caleb Spears (174, seventh).
Coker (assistant coached by University Christian alum Robert Parland) was 30th, with one placer in Ramon Correa (285, 8th).
Individually, at 165, UNC-Pembroke’s Kaleb Warner (Columbia ’15) was 2-2 in the tournament, with wins on both sides of the bracket. Warner falled Seton Hill’s Sean Hoover (4:27), but then took a 4-0 loss in the round of 16 to eventual champ Nick Foster of McKendree. Warner then fought through to a 17-13 consi round 2 win over Western Colorado’s Michael Thelen, then fell to Tiffin’s Bryan LaVearn, 10-2, in consi round 3.
At 141, Dy’Juan Carney (Wakulla ’15) was 2-2 for Fort Hays State, with both wins on the back side. Carney lost by fall (5:32) to Queens’ Devinaire Hayes in the round of 32, then won twice on the back side to Kentucky Wesleyan’s Caleb Craig (14-4) and decisioned Lindenwood-MO’s Blaine Martinez (3-2), before taking a 19-7 loss to Newman’s Baylor Smith in consi round 3.
Smokey Mountain Duals: At Pigeon Forge TN on December 13, Keiser won two of four duals at the day-long dual tournament, with wins over SW Virginia CC (31-18) and Bluefield (39-18), falling to Campbellsville (53-0) and Reinhardt (41-6). Xaiver Sampsel (Fleming Island ’16) made three starts at 133, going 2-1 on the day. Sampsel knocked off Reinhardt’s Walker Byrd, 4-3, and pinned Simpson’s Andrew Simpson in 35 seconds, falling by a 4-0 count to Campbellsville’s Marvin Galette.
St Olaf 45, Waldorf 12: At Northfield MN on December 14, the hosts romped to the dual win, with seven max-point victories against a short-handed Iowa side. One of those max-point wins came at 174, where the Warriors’ Robert McGlynn (Orange Park ’19) won by forfeit.
Cascade Duals: At Prescott AZ on December 15, Southeastern swept to four wins over western opponents Eastern Oregon (22-20), host Embry-Riddle AZ (26-11), Providence MT (22-18) and Arizona Christian (42-6). Jaquan English (Raines ’18) started in all four duals at 141 for the Fire, with a 2-2 day. English teched Embry-Riddle’s Jayce Cunha (16-1) and decisioned Providence’s Gavin Gies, 2-1, losing by fall to Eastern Oregon’s Blake McNall and Arizona Christian’s Dalton Brady (6:17).
Huntingdon tri-meet: At Montgomery ALA on December 17, the Hawks fell to Life (40-0) and Thomas More (25-16). In two starts at 285, the Hawks’ Joseph Pearson (Ft Walton Beach ’17) was 1-1, with a 16-9 decision over Thomas More’s Tyler Kassinger and a 15-4 loss to Life’s Andre Bissainthe.
Beaver Open: At Pratt KS on December 14, Pratt CC’s Darius Wilkins (Wakulla ’19) was 1-2 in the tournament at 285. Wilkins fell to unattached wrestler Joshua Heindselmann, 7-5, in the round of 16; after a bye; Wilkins pinned University of the Ozarks’ Bronnie Kinser in 1:24, but then lost by fall in the consi quarters to University of St Mary’s Cam Rosario (2:11).
Luther 22, Dubuque 18: At Dubuque on December 14, the visitors won three matches in row, all by bonus, to take the Iowa Conference win. One of those was at 184, where the Spartans’ Delmontae Davis (Westside ’17) lost by fall to Luther’s Ira Kuehn, in 4:02.
Wisconsin 42, Kent State 6: At Madison on December 19, the Badgers had seven bonus-point wins (five pins, two techs) and gave up no bonus losses under head coach Chris Bono (Bolles alum) in the Badgers’ home opener. It was Wisconsin’s biggest margin of victory since 2015, when the Badgers beat a Division III in-state rival
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