Gannon Beats D1 Kent State
In one of the biggest dual wins of the weekend, unranked D2 Gannon University took out D1 Kent State 20-19. The dual was tied at the end of regulation, but thanks to a Gannon pin, the Knights were victorious. Gannon started off the dual with big momentum with Hunter Robison and Jerry Echevarria clutching out one-point wins. Echevarria has bounced in and out of The Open Mat’s rankings but should have a great shot at qualifying for nationals. After giving up a major at 141, Gannon got a major of their own from national qualifier Jimmy Ryan, 15-2. Nichola Coreno gave Gannon another win at 165 to put them ahead 13-7 in the dual with four matches to go. Kent State made things interesting with three matches in a row going to them, bringing the score to 19-13 for Kent State with one match left. Matt Long knew a pin would give them the win, so he went out and did just that. In 2:18, Long sealed the win for himself and the rest of the team. Gannon’s big win was especially impressive considering they are not ranked in the top 20 of D2, yet beat a D1 team.
Kervin Adds Name Into Title Conversation
To many, even avid NAIA men’s wrestling fans, the name Jonathan Kervin may not sound very familiar, although it should after the weekend. The Indiana high school state champion started his collegiate career out as a D1 Hoosier of Indiana. After a few years there, he transferred to nearby Indiana Tech. The first glimpse of his potential was taking the returning national champion, Rysan Leong, into overtime, although he came up short. His big win this past weekend was over All-American Matt Jenkins of Reinhardt, the #1 according to the coach’s rankings. 165 is flooding with title contenders this year, including six returning All-Americans and about five dangerous newcomers. Now we can officially add Kervin’s name to the list of title contenders.
Stars Upset Rams, Ashley upsets #1
The premier women's dual of the week saw #13 Oklahoma City take on #6 Texas Wesleyan. The OCU Stars pulled off the big upset 26-20. While every athlete had to play her part for the win, one performance stood above the rest. It took #2 Avery Ashley all of 20 seconds to secure a tech fall victory over #1 Camille Fournier thanks to a low singler straight to a leg lace. Fournier was a runner-up at NAIA Nationals last year, while Ashley was 5th. This isn’t the first time they’ve met, either. Last year they traded 3 matches back and forth, with Ashley winning once by tech fall, and Fournier winning twice with a pin and a decision. In other words, buckle up because nothing is guaranteed in this weight class.
Wilden Wins North Central Open Title
Athena Wilden of William Jewell was one of the breakout performers at the North Central Open. She was having a decent but not phenomenal year up at 155, being ranked 12th at the weight. In her first action down at 143, she immediately made a statement with a tournament title at one of the toughest in-season opens in all of collegiate women wrestling. She dominated her way to the semis with a tech fall over previous NAIA #1 Emma Walker of Campbellsville. In the semis she beat North Central’s former All-American Riley Aamold, who would be highly ranked if North Central didn’t already have 15 highly ranked athletes. Wilden capped off her run over another tough North Central foe in the finals, dispatching Niya Teresita Gaines 4-3.
Providence likely upped their team’s stock the most over the weekend. NAIA #1 Erin Hikiji (101) came out on top over NCAA #2 Maddie Avila in the finals in a crazy 13-8 bout. But the freshman also pulled a lot of weight. Unranked Paige Morales (109) announced her presence by knocking off #2 Tehani Soares on her way to the finals. Freshman Alyssa Randles (130) scored her best wins on the consolation side, knocking off previous #4 Paige Respicio and North Central’s Taylor Miess, both by tech fall.
Written By Justin Portillo