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State wrestlers looking to earn berths for NCAA Division I tournament

Joel Barlow graduate Emmett LiCastri (157) of Franklin and Marshall will be looking to earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament at this weekend’s EIWA championships. (Photo courtesy Franklin and Marshall wrestling)

Four Connecticut wrestlers will be competing in Division I league tournament this weekend looking for a berth at the upcoming NCAA Division I wrestling championships in Pittsburgh on March 21-23.

New Fairfield’s Alec Opsal will be wrestling for Air Force at 149 pounds in the Pac 12 tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Opsal is seeded in the tournament and gets top seed Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma State in the first round.

But the Big 12 received seven allocations for wrestlers at 149 pounds so if Opsal can win some matches, he might have an opportunity to wrestle in the NCAA tournament.

New Fairfield sophomore Avery Shay of Clarion University is the No. 2 seed at 157 pounds in the final Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) tournament at George Mason University in Fairfax. Seven EWL schools will be joining the Mid-American Conference next winter.

Shay is 9-5 this year and will probably need to win the league tournament to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. The NCAA has allocated one bid to the EWL at 157 pounds.

Two Connecticut wrestlers will be competing in the 115th EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) tournament at Binghamton University.

Sacred Heart, Connecticut’s only Division I program, will be competing at the EIWA championships and had three wrestlers seeded in the pre-tournament rankings. Senior Brandon Levesque (165) was seeded eighth with sophomore Anthony Falbo (174) of Newtown and freshman Kyle Davis (184) each seeded 11th.

The EIWA has been allocated four NCAA tournament bids at 165 and five bids each at 174 and 184.

Easton’s Emmett LiCastri, a junior at Franklin and Marshall, is seeded 11th at 157 pounds. He is 19-11 on the year with a 5-1 mark against EIWA competition. The NCAA has allocated six spots for the EIWA at 157.

Lehigh is the defending EIWA champion. They snapped Cornell’s run of 11 straight titles with their first championship since 2006 and the 35th EIWA championship in team history.

This is Sacred Heart’s eighth appearance in the EIWA championships. Their best performance came in 2006 when they scored 26½ points and finished 14th out of 16 teams.

Former Middletown High wrestler Richard Perry will be inducted into the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Hall of Fame on Saturday prior to the EWL championships at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia on Saturday.  Perry, who earned a spot on the U.S. national team last June before getting severely injured in training camp, was a four-year standout at Bloomsburg University from 2010-14.

Big 12 Tournament
At Tulsa Oklahoma
Live Brackets and results (Flo)
Pre tournament brackets
Tournament website

EIWA Championships
At Binghamton, N.Y.
Brackets and results (Flo)
Conference website

Eastern Wrestling League (EWL)
At Fairfax, Va. (George Mason)
Brackets and results (Fl0)


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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