It was the last big wrestling tournament held before sporting events across the nation were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the University of Connecticut’s club wrestling team made sure they took advantage.
For the second straight year, the Huskies had three All-American wrestlers at the 2020 National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) national tournament in Allen, Texas, on March 13-14. With five individual champions, Liberty University won their third straight NCWA championship to become just the second team to achieve that accomplishment.
Liberty scored 228 points to easily distance themselves from Gray Harbor College with 146 points while Springfield Technical Community College was third with 137 points and their best-ever finish in the tournament. STCC had two finalists including Marcos Mercado of Northampton, Mass., who became the first national champion in school history.
Berlin freshman Daniel Veleas (149), Higgnaum senior Mackay Revis (165) and Somers sophomore Jackson Rheault (184) earned All-American honors in the tournament. Revis finished fifth in his weight class while Veleas was seventh and Rheault took eighth.
The Huskies finished 15th overall in the field with 62½ points but were fourth in Division II behind East Carolina (96), Penn State Wrestling Club (71½) and Ohio State Wrestling Club (71). UConn has finished in the top four in Division II in four of the last five tournaments, including a second place finish in 2019, a third place finish in 2018 and another fourth place finish in 2016.
NCWA Division I and Division II teams compete together in the tournament. Division I teams have more rules and regulations to comply with in terms of organizing their team and competing.
Revis (23-7, 12 pins) took second at the recent Northeast Conference tournament and went 5-2 to earn NCWA All-American honors for the first time.
He won his first two matches of the tournament including a 9-6 win over Kevin Kline of Central Washington. Down by one late in the third period, Revis got a reversal with 30 seconds remaining to take the lead and clinched the win with a near fall four seconds later.
Revis fell in the quarterfinals to David Coz of Liberty by technical fall but won his first two consolation round bouts. He beat East Carolina’s Adam Aldridge, 10-3, before rallying to beat Rowan’s Anthony Rallo in Revis’ second consolation round match, 7-5. Down by one, Revis escaped with 1:39 remaining in the third period to tie the match and got a takedown with 23 seconds to earn the victory and earn a spot in the medal round.
Revis got pinned in his next match but rallied to finish fifth by pinning Max Henry Nelson of Pacific Lutheran in 3:31.
Veleas (25-7) won a Northeast Conference title and won his first two matches in the tournament with a pin and a win by technical fall. Veleas dropped his quarterfinal match to Texas A&M’s Ty’rae Carter by technical fall.
Veleas won two of his three bouts in the consolation round to finish seventh with a 13-3 win over Hunter Weiss of Wayne State.
Rheault (11-3) was seeded 16th in the tournament and went 4-3 including three consecutive wins in the consolation round to earn a medal.
STCC, who beat UConn for the Northeast Conference title, was led by Mercado while teammate David Ortiz of Naples, Florida, was second at 133 and Holyoke’s Chris Vega was third at 125 pounds. The best finish by a New England school at the NCWA tournament came in the first year of the tournament when Yale University won the championship with a 15-point win over Georgia.
STCC’s Katlin Wells of Rushville, N.Y., won her second straight NCWA national title with a pin at 101 pounds. She helped STCC finish ninth in the women’s tournament. NCWA has been hosting a women’s tournament since 2009.
The NCWA tournament was held on March 13-14 in Texas. It was just a few days earlier on Wednesday, March 11, that the NBA suspended their season. The NHL suspended their season on March 12, the same day that the NCAA cancelled all of their remaining winter championship tournaments including the Division I and Division III wrestling national championship tournaments.
The NCWA was founded in 1997 to provide collegiate athletes with an opportunity to compete in wrestling at a regional and national level. The NCWA helps develop programs under the school’s athletic departments, student services department and sport club departments.
Programs operate in several ways with some teams having established coaches while other teams are student-run organizations. The UConn club has been in existence since 2007. UConn dropped their varsity wrestling program following the 1981 season.
STCC wins 4th straight Northeast Conference title
Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and UConn each had seven finalists and four individual champions but STCC’s team was bit deeper with four third place finishers as STCC outlasted UConn, 195½ to 171 to win their fourth straight NWCA’s Northeast Conference championship meet.
STCC went 4-1 in the consolation final while the Huskies went 1-3 in that round.
Berlin’s Dan Veleas (149), Avon’s Anthony Tripodi (157), Somers’ Jackson Rheault (184) and Hand’s Adam Hendrick (235) won titles for the Huskies while Haddam-Killingworth graduate Makaay Revis (165), Berlin’s Vincent Biscoglio (197) and freshman Sebastian Malespini (174) each finished second.
UConn finished second for the second consecutive year.
2020 NWCA Northeast Conference championships
At Springfield, Mass. (STCC) (February 29)
Team results – 1. Springfield Technical Community College 195½, 2. UConn 171, 3. Stony Brook 109, 4. MIT 66½, 5. Rhode Island 65½, 6. Maine Maritime Academy 64, 7. UMass 58, 8. New Hampshire 55½, 9. SUNY-Farmingdale 53, 10. Northeastern 48½, 11. Yale 40, 12. Southern New Hampshire University 33½, 13. BIW Apprentice-Bath, Maine 26½, 14. RPI 24½, 15. Sacred Heart Wrestling Club 20½, 16. Maine 19½, 17. Husson 6
Final: Chris Vega (Springfield Tech) win by medical forfeit over Dylan Beddow (Springfield Tech)
3. Wyatt Sluga (Yale) dec. Andrew Nunez (Stony Brook Univ.), 21-19
5. Chan Kim (UMass) pin Tyler Nguyen (UMass), 0:17
7. Sawyer McCarty (Husson Univ-Bangor ME) pin Jonathan Chen (Stony Brook Univ.), 0:26
Final: David Ortiz (Springfield Tech) dec. Kenneth Cracchiola (Stony Brook Univ.), 10-2
3. Keith Skaggs (MIT) forfeit over Tyler Craig (BIW-Bath ME)
5. Tim Roberts (Springfield Tech) pin Noah Ramos (UMass), 0:36
7. Chris Delisle (URI) dec. Laszlo Gendler (Yale), 15-3
Final: Marcos Mercado (Springfield Tech) tech fall Jacob Routon (Maine Maritime Academy), 18-0, 6:35
3. Derek Vincelette (UConn) dec. Mark Borak (New Hampshire), 9-4
5. Kitan Salako (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) forfeit over William Obert-Thorn (Stony Brook Univ.)
7. Brian Gembarski (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) pin John Botti (SUNY Farmingdale), 2:27
Final: Daniel Veleas (UConn) dec. Jacob Adams (MIT), 15-7
3. Xzander Chapman (Springfield Tech) dec. R.J. Harrington (New Hampshire), 11-6
5. Ethan Boucher (Maine Maritime Academy) pin Nicholas Scrivanich (Yale), 1:15
7. Koh Suzuki (Northeastern) forfeit over Michael Sprague (BIW-Bath ME)
Final: Anthony Tripodi (UConn) dec. Jolan Martori (Springfield Tech), 8-6
3. Jay Best (Stony Brook Univ.) pin Khalif Sharif (Springfield Tech), 2:56
5. Ryan Buquicchio (URI) dec. Luke Beaulieu (Southern New Hampshire), 6-2
7. Jason Wojcik (URI) pin Gino Giacoio (Stony Brook Univ.), 2:43
Final: Stephen Illicete (SUNY Farmingdale) dec. Mackay Revis (UConn), 6-5
3. Nicholas Saporito (Stony Brook Univ.) dec. Connor Muilenburg (Northeastern), 15-9
5. Alex Fogarty (Maine Maritime Academy) pin RJ Capodilupo (New Hampshire), 6:36
7. Brady Pare (URI) dec. Ryan Williams (Springfield Tech), 24-13
Final: Ricardo Magny (Springfield Tech) dec. Sebastian Malespini (UConn), 10-5
3. Joshua Galvin (UMass) pin Jacob Gannotti (UConn), 2:56
Final: Jackson Rheault (UConn) dec. Stephano Magny (Springfield Tech), 10-2
3. Kyle Brown (Southern New Hampshire) dec. Michael Gaudoin (UConn), 7-5
5. Derrick Pommills Jr. (URI) forfeit over Teigan Lindstedt (Maine Maritime Academy), 0-0
7. Jake Myhre (Stony Brook Univ.) forfeit over Jeff Kierstead (BIW-Bath ME), 0-0
Final: Joseph Perkins (Northeastern) dec. Vincent Biscoglio (UConn), 10-1
3. Johnny Andre (Springfield Tech) dec. Brad Eisner (SUNY Farmingdale), 3-2
5. Clement Sherwood (Maine) pin Dylan Krauskopf (UMass), 2:55
7. Joe Ward (MIT) pin Jack Parker (Yale), 0:46
Final: Adam Hendrick (UConn) dec. Philip Ricca (Sacred Heart club), 5-2
3. Dominic Ledoux (Springfield Tech) pin Lucas Peckham (URI), 2:53
5. Jonathan Carrigan (New Hampshire) win by medical forfeit over Nolan Degroot (Maine)
7. Aidan McSheffrey (UMass) pin Andrew Biron (Southern New Hampshire), 2:10
Final: Jonathon Brown (MIT) pin Jeffrey Kraemer (Stony Brook Univ.), 8:50
3. Dakota Dubois (Springfield Tech) pin Fayssal Saleh (UConn), 1:13
5. Levi Barrington (URI) win by medical forfeit over Jose Gandarilla (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) 7. 7. Brady Gebo (Maine Maritime Academy) pin Nicholas Sweeting (SUNY Farmingdale), 2:22
Brackets and results: Flowrestling.com
2020 National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) national championships
At Allen Texas
Top 25 team results (overall): 1. Liberty University (Lynchburg, Va.) 228, 2. Grays Harbor College (Aberdeen, Wash.) 146, 3. Springfield (Mass.) Technical Community College 146, 4. Apprentice School (Newport News, Va.) 104, 5. East Carolina University 96, 6. Central Florida 92½, 7. Schreiner University (Kerrville, Texas) 76½, 8. UNLV 72, 9. Penn State WC 71½, 10. Ohio State WC 71, 11. Mott CC (Flint, Michigan) 69½, 12. Big Bend CC (Moses Lake, Washington) and Grand Valley State (Allendale, Michigan) 68½, 14. Dixie State (St. George, Utah) 65, 15. UConn 62½, 16. Akron 57½, 17. Iowa State WC 56, 18. West Chester 50, 19. Cal-Polytechnic WC 46½, 20. James Madison 42½, 21. Penn State-Mont Alto 42, 22. Texas A&M 41, 23. Wayne (Nebraska) State College 40, 24. Toledo and Washington State University 38½.
Other New England schools: 45. Northeastern 11½, t64, MIT, Maine, UMass, New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Yale 0
Division I (top 5): 1. Liberty 228, 2. Grays Harbor 146, 3. Springfield Tech CC 137, 4. Apprentice 194, 5. Central Florida 92½
Division II (top 5): 1. East Carolina (5th overall) 96, 2. Penn State Wrestling Club (9) 71½, 3 Ohio State WC (10) 71, 4. UConn (15) 62½. 5. Iowa State WC (17) 56.
Final: Cody Cabanban (Schreiner) dec. Jovan Garcia (Big Bend CC), 15-10
3. Chris Vega (Springfield Tech CC) dec. Manuel Canfijn (West Chester), 6-3
5. Colton Messick (The Apprentice School) NC Kameron Kempker (Grand Valley)
7. Dylan Beddow (Springfield Tech CC) pin Lian Khai (Maryland, Baltimore County), 6:57
Final: Rahsun Lawrence (East Carolina) dec. David Ortiz (Springfield Tech CC), 4-3
3. Diego Nunez (Grays Harbor) dec. Casey Oleson (Treasure Valley CC), 9-1
5. Kolin Johnson (The Apprentice School) NC Raekwon Jackson (The Apprentice School)
7. Enrique Munguia (Texas) forfeit over Trevor Dusty (Grand Valley State)
Final: Marcos Mercado (Springfield Tech CC) dec. Wesley Hollingsworth (East Carolina), 7-4
3. Justin Trinh (Central Florida) dec. Charles Hudson (Liberty), 9-4
5. Cade Cox (Big Bend CC) forfeit over Shalek Colon (The Apprentice School)
7. Jake Taylor (West Chester) forfeit over Jack Coulston (Penn State – Mont Alto)
Final: Ty’rae Carter (Texas A&M) DEF Zach Blevins (Toledo)
3. Joseph Pecaitis (Penn State WC) pin Moustapha Bal (Ohio State WC), 5:43
5. Andrew Halko (Akron) dec. Carter Weeks (Iowa State WC), 3-2
7. Daniel Veleas (UConn) dec. Hunter Weiss (Wayne State), 13-3
Final: Chad Cantrell (Liberty) dec. Calvin Kopstein (James Madison), 6-5
3. Colin Cronin (Temple) tech fall Michael Canada (UNLV), 21-5 7:00
5. Brandon Turner (Grand Valley State) NC Bryson Woody (The Apprentice School)
7. Benjamin Blickle (Ohio State WC) pin Cameron Dubos (Washington State), 4:18
Final: Joe Scott (Liberty) dec. David Cox (Liberty), 3-2
3. Desmond Bowers (Grays Harbor) DEF Stephen Illicete (Farmingdale State)
5. Mackay Revis (UConn) pin Max-Henry Nelson (Pacific Lutheran), 3:31
7. Patrick Schmitz (California Polytechnic University WC) dec. Anthony Rallo (Rowan), 9-4
Final: Clay Perry (Central Florida) dec. Cody Richmond (Liberty), 14-3
3. Luke Ely (Liberty) dec. Seth Dominguez (Mott CC), 7-2
5. Seth Konynenbelt (Grand Valley State) NC David Mcelravy (The Apprentice School)
7. Andy Gonzales (Grays Harbor ) pin Michael Corrente (Rowan), 2:49
Final: Sam Karel (Liberty) dec. Jarrod Smiley (Central Florida), 6-4
3. Jared Larsen (California Polytechnic WC) dec. Sione Halo (Grays Harbor), 6-2
5. Ethan Martin (Liberty) dec. Cade Wilbert (Penn State WC), 5-4
7. Dartagnan Phan (USC) forfeit over Jackson Rheault (UConn)
Final: Austin Amos (Liberty) dec. Eldar Muradov (Ohio State WC), 6-4 SV
3. Bradley Antesberger (Dixie State) dec. Blake Barrick (Liberty), 6-3
5. Kyler Slade (Ohio State WC) dec. Tyler Roling (Iowa State WC), 10-5
7. Ryan Thomas (James Madison) pin Dominic Vasquez (Toledo), 2:45
Final: Jeffrey Allen (Liberty) dec. Octavio Alejandre (Grays Harbor), 8-3
3. Tyson Cisneros (Wayne State) dec. Kaleb Cantrell (Ohio State WC), 3-1
5. David Smith (Liberty) pin Dominic Ledoux (Springfield Tech CC), 0:48
7. Forest Rutledge (Penn State WC) pin Nicholas Nash (Akron), 5:35
Final: Mervyn Penniston-John (Grays Harbor College) dec. Frederick Weaver (Liberty), 9-4
3. Jantsen Manis (Dixie State) dec. Thomas Hudson (East Carolina), 11-1
5. Mitchell Bischoff (Akron) forfeit over Lance Clapp (Mott CC)
7. Collin Riley (Schreiner) dec. Dakota Dubois (Springfield Tech CC), 3-2
Tournament results and brackets (FloWrestling.com)
Top results – 1. Schreiner 170 ½, 2. Umpqua CC (Washington) 119½, 3. Grays Harbor 105½, 4. Liberty University 77½, 5. Big Bend CC 50, 6. Pacific Lutheran 37½, 7. UCLA 31, 8. Texas A&M 27½, 9. RPI and Springfield Tech CC 22
Final: Katlin Wells (Springfield Tech CC) pin Cecilia Saavedra (Grays Harbor), 2:53
3. Esthela Trevino (Umpqua CC) pin Kayla Rogers (Big Bend CC), 1:21
Final: Chelsea Wilson (RPI) dec. Allicia Mahoe (Schreiner), 6-3
3. Cynthia Diaz (Grays Harbor) pin Marina Aguayo (UCLA), 4:34
5. Hanna Bae (Texas) NC Nichole Sanchez (Santa Rosa Junior College)
7. Karrissa Crook (Sacramento State) NC Erika Trujillo (Houston)
Final: Kamile Begeal (Schreiner) pin Jazelyn Ruelas (Schreiner), 2:05
3. Kira Emma (Texas -Arlington) pin Kahindo Musongera (Texas A&M), 2:24
5. Lesly Baires (Grays Harbor) NC Jayla Ware (Liberty)
Final: Allie Mahoe (Schreiner) dec. Mariah Annis (Umpqua CC), 9-2
3. Itzel Esquivel (Houston) pin Alexie Darst (Big Bend CC), 6:01
5. Julian Yates (Grays Harbor) NC Lexie Portmann (Grays Harbor)
7. Keiko Sanders (California Polytechnic) NC Ashley Meadows (Texas)
Final: Serena Cervantes (Schreiner) pin Serenity Thomas (Toledo), 4:05
3. Tatum Pine (Umpqua CC) dec. Terri Ajifu (Pacific Lutheran), 4-1
5. Arianna McDonald (California – Santa Barbara) NC Gurleen Chahal (Fresno State)
7. Mariah Ferello (Liberty) NC Cassidy O’hara (Grays Harbor)
Final: Aliyah Yates (Big Bend CC) dec. Charisse Manley (Liberty), 4-2
3. Cassy Favela (Schreiner) pin Araya Boday (Big Bend CC), 2:28
5. Ayleen Coronado (Grays Harbor) NC Flora Chang (California – Santa Barbara)
7. Katelyn Pham (UCLA) NC Richelle Rolfe (Umpqua CC)
Final: Grace Miller (Umpqua CC) pin Mackayla Rosales (Schreiner), 2:09
3. Catherine Morales (Liberty) pin Carmen Graham (Northeastern), 1:57
5. Nina Ortega (Texas A&M) NC Marissa Sanders (Liberty)
7. Clemmy Tixier (Arizona) NC Kaylah Harrison (Santa Rosa Junior College)
Final: Cendall Manley (Liberty) dec. Megan Thomas (Schreiner), 6-0
3. Emma Justo (Grays Harbor) dec. Lilliann Restrepo (Umpqua CC), 5-1
5. Jessica Carbajal (Richland College) NC Emily Resch (Texas A&M)
7. Iraiz Rodriguez (Fresno State) NC Abigail Jolley (Umpqua CC)
Final: Monica Piper (Umpqua CC) pin Lena Flanagan (Pacific Lutheran), 0:43
3. Tia Barfield (UCLA) pin Elena Felix (California Polytechnic), 4:42
5. Sienna Lejeune (Umpqua CC) NC Mikayla Mata (Schreiner)
7. Jasmin Olvera (Houston) NC Rebekah Kemper (Liberty)
Final: Kamila Montenegro (Grays Harbor) pin Kyndra Wooten (Liberty), 3:21
3. Alayna Curnan (Schreiner) forfeit over Rachel Moore (Ottawa University – Arizona)
Final: Lavenia Fotu (Grays Harbor) pin Quinn Lacy (Grays Harbor College), 2:16
3. Jackie Castro (Grays Harbor) pin Miriam De la garza (Schreiner), 3:28
5. Reggan Grade (Big Bend CC) NC Sarah Delair (Santa Rosa Junior College)
Outstanding wrestler: Cendall Manley (155), Liberty
Tournament results and brackets (FloWrestling.com)