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NCAA cancels three national championship tournaments

Due to concerns about COVID-19, the NCAA has canceled all three wrestling national championship tournaments.  This photo is from the 2019 NCAA Division I tournament. (Photo courtesy Sam Janicki Photography)

The 2020 collegiate wrestling season is over. Due to concerns about the coronavirus, the NCAA canceled all of their remaining winter sports championship tournaments including wrestling, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.

The NCAA Division II national tournament was scheduled to begin Friday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with the Division III championship meet set for Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Division I tournament was scheduled to be in Minneapolis on March 19-21.

“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” said Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, said in a statement.

In the past 24 hours, the NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer have indefinitely suspended their seasons. Major League Baseball canceled the remainder of spring training and delayed the start of the 2020 season by two weeks. The NCAA also canceled their championship tournaments in spring sports including baseball, softball and lacrosse.

Eight Connecticut natives had qualified to participate in the three national wrestling tournaments.

North Carolina State redshirt freshman Jakob Camacho earned his first NCAA Division I tournament berth last weekend by winning the 125 pound title at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) tournament, bringing home the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award. Camacho (20-6) was the only state wrestler to qualify for the Division I tournament.

American International College junior JoJo Gonzalez (157 pounds) qualified to participate in the NCAA Division II wrestling national championship tournament for the second consecutive year. The former Ellis Tech wrestler (33-6) won a Super Regional 1 title to earn an invitation to the Division II national championship.

Seven wrestlers qualified to compete in the NCAA Division III national tournament – Western New England University’s Nick Aborio (Berlin, 125), Williams’ Joseph Rossetti (Glastonbury, 141), New York University’s Izaake Zuckerman (Fairfield Warde, 174), Coast Guard’s Noah Caskey (Montville, 141), Springfield’s Chris Trelli (Bristol Central, 133), Washington and Lee’s Ryan Luth (Foran-Milford, 157) and Muhlenberg’s Austin Sherman (Fairfield Ludlowe, 149)

Wrestlers had to finish in the top three of their respective regional tournament to qualify. Aborio won the Northeast Regional title at 125 while Luth won a Southeast Regional title at 149 pounds.

No. 10 Coast Guard (7-2), which finished second at the Northeast Regional for the second consecutive season, sent six wrestlers to the NCAA Division III national tournament. Philip Rogers (165), Paul Detwiler (184) and Jon Wagner (197) all won Northeast Regional championships. AJ Aeberli (174) and Patrick Irwin (275) placed second while Caskey won three matches on final day of the regional to place third and earn an NCAA bid.

Wesleyan sophomore Marco Gaita, who grew up in New Jersey, was also in Iowa for the Division III championship meet. Gaita won the 174 pound title at the Northeast Regional over Coast Guard’s A.J. Aeberli, 3-2.

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 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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