Notes from Coach Doyle
Head Coach, Wheeling Jesuit University
WHITELY, NANIA, LEPPLA AND BOWMAN QUALIFY FOR NCAA DIVISION II CHAMPIONSHIPS (Three Founding Fathers!)
February 26-27, 2016
AT Mercyhurst University, Erie PA
The past weekend brought a lot of ups, downs and a number of opportunities for our young men to show resiliency and perseverance. Competing in the toughest Super Region in the country is a challenge that we fully embrace and it tests our resolve more than anything we can create in preparation. Our guys stepped foot on campus 6 months ago and began training for the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships. This opportunity happens in a two day window and if you're not at your best on those two days, the opportunity can slip away. In the end Nolan Whitely, Dominick Nania, Sawyer Leppla and Logan Bowman earned bids to the NCAA Tournament. Of note, three of these young men were Founding Fathers of Wheeling Jesuit Wrestling and secured their bid in their 3rd year within the program.
For us, resiliency and perseverance was the theme of the two days, as a number of unexpected things occurred and our guys responded at nearly every occasion. After, being upset in the 2nd round, Captain Dominick Nania responded with 4 straight pins to finish 3rd, with a huge win over nationally ranked Lydic of Seton Hill. After a very tough loss in the semi-consolations, Sawyer Leppla responded by winning two matches in a row to finish fourth. Logan Bowman lost his third place match and 40 minutes later responded by soundly defeating a nationally ranked opponent to earn his bid.
Wrestling is unique because there are ten individuals striving to reach their goals. If all ten don't accomplish what they set out to do, it's hard to find satisfaction as a whole. Yet, as we've done throughout our short program history, we showed great progress. Four NCAA Qualifiers, a 4th place team finish and more points in a regional tournament than our previous two years.
2013-2014: 2 wrestlers in top 6, 0 NQ's, 0 AA's, 4 pts)
2014-2015: 5 wrestlers in top 6, 3 NQ's, 1 AA, 74.5pts)
2015-2016: 6 wrestlers in top 6, 5 NQ's, ? AA, 85 pts)
The guys will be headed to Sioux Falls, SD to compete on March 11-12.
Dustin Warner (25-7, 10 falls, W&J Champion, Findlay Open Champion, 2nd Midwest Classic, 5th Super Region I)
Dustin lost a narrow 2-1 decision to the #3 ranked wrestler in the country in the semi-finals and was then defeated in double overtime in his match to qualify. Some things are hard to explain and/or understand. Dustin was 6-0 in previous matches against his last opponent with 5 of the 6 being very one sided. This was felt throughout the team. I am most proud that Dustin was the biggest fan of his teammates seeking NCAA bids during the rest of the day, when it would have been somewhat understood if he disappeared for a bit.
As with life as we move into adulthood, sometimes things go in a very unexpected direction and our ability to be successful is determined by these moments. We will need to identify where we fell short and get better. There is zero doubt that this crossroads will make Dustin better and a stronger young man.
Josh Henderson (5-4, 1 fall, 6th place W&J)
Nolan Whitely (25-7, 6 fall, W&J Champion, 5th Findlay Open, 2nd Midwest Classic, 4th Super Region I, NCAA Qualifier)
Nolan becomes Wheeling Jesuit's first every 2x NCAA Qualifier! Nolan continues to wrestle very well in the biggest moments and was very dominant in two critical matches against opponents that he previously had narrow wins over. Nolan understands his strengths and in almost every occasion gives himself the best opportunity to win during the match. Nolan will have another opportunity to reach his goals of becoming an All-American. To do this, Nolan needs to continue to get better at finishing all of his attacks and strong defense.
Scott Lopez (16-9, Runner-up Findlay Open, Runner-up NUWAY College Open)
Nat Brown (5-5)
Jaylen Hill (2-4)
Kollin Clark (4-7, 1 fall)
It was Kollin's first opportunity to wrestler in a regional tournament and Kollin contributed with a big pin, earning bonus points for the team. Kollin is a wonderful teammate and an individual that I can count on for anything. He will most likely become an Academic All-American this year and we expect for Kollin to have a great two years ahead of him.
Damon Outward (13-15, 5 pins)
Preston Bowshier (13-4, W&J Champion, 6th Findlay Open)
Tyler Hogue (5-4, 1 fall)
Trey Woodley (0-2)
Dominick Nania (29-7, 16 falls, 4th Findlay Open, 3rd Midwest Classic, 3rd Super Region I, NCAA Qualifier)
Wow! There are a number of words that we, as WJU Wrestling fans find when talking about Dom, but he never fails to impress us. Dom is a two year captain and in his third year at Wheeling Jesuit. He came to us as a good high school wrestler, but more importantly a leader and someone that is motivated. He lives a lifestyle that models the Cardinal Culture, he's been just short of a 4.0 the last two semesters and he is now an NCAA National Qualifier. What's next?
After being upset and pinned in about a minute during the quarterfinals, Dom was in a tough place. Last year he lost in the quarters and wasn't able to regroup and recover. This year he responded by pinning four opponents in a row, including the #7 ranked wrestler in the country and finishing 3rd. Watch out Sioux Falls!
Skyler Terrell (2-0)
Jonathan Barrett (1-4)
Reyse Wallbrown (15-14, 4 fall, W&J Champion)
Reyse went 1-2 and wrestled better than we've seen in a while. Reyse has worked hard in the past month to put himself in a position to compete for an NCAA bid and wasn't to far off this weekend. He finished in the top 8 and lost a very close match in the consolations preventing him from reaching the podium. It would have been nice to get him two more matches as a top 6 placer, but there were positives to be taken into next year. The next 8-9 months leading into next year will determine the success Reyse experiences in his two remaining years.
Keegan Driscoll (15-13, 1 fall, 5th place W&J, 6th place Findlay Open)
It was a strong freshman campaign for Keegan and it ended with a 1-2 record at his first Super Regional tournament. There really aren't to many areas where I can be critical of Keegan. He worked his butt off every single day, competed with toughness and tenacity and was someone I could count on in most any situation. I do think that Keegan has a big three years ahead of him and most importantly we need to find an offense that Keegan is confident in. It prevented him from being able to score in big matches when he needed it most.
Peyton Geary (13-9, 1 fall, W&J Champion)
Cody Eggers (0-4)
Dean Meyer (6-4)
Dean's strong second semester ended with him going 2-2 this weekend. Two opponents that Dean defeated this month are going to Sioux Falls and that is disappointing. Although Dean had limited action during the season, he had a lot of momentum coming into this weekend with some great recent performances but just couldn't put it together in his first regional opportunity.
Clayton Ray (8-5, 3 falls, 6th W&J)
John Lessner (1-4)
Sawyer Leppla (9-9, 4th Findlay Open, 4th Super Region I, NCAA Qualifier)
Like Dom, WOW. Sawyer had a tremendous weekend and as we've learned in his first two years, he enjoys competing when it counts a little more. Sawyer has wrestled in two regional tournaments, and in both cases came up one match short of an NCAA bid. This year seemed different because Sawyer never really gained any traction during the regular season. Fans asked "What's wrong with Sawyer or what's going on with him?" Internally Sawyer made some major changes in early-mid January and it was just taking some time to take effect.
This weekend, he started off Friday by defeating the #5 seed 15-5 and tech falling the #4 seed 16-1. Both opponents had previously beat him this year. In the semi-consolations, Sawyer lost a heart breaker on a late reversal and once again would have to rebound. Sawyer won two matches in a row and wrestled as hard and with as much heart as we've ever seen. Terry Brands recent popular comment "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you earn," couldn't resonate more than with Sawyer in the past 6-8 weeks.
Garrett Reinwald (6-7)
Nate Starkey (2-5, 1 fall)
Terrance Fanning (23-8, 1 fall, W&J Champion, 5th Super Region I)
Terrance capped off a very strong freshman season with a 5th place finish in the Super Region. Although we were hoping to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, Terrance learned a lot this year in his first action in a Cardinal singlet. This year will prove to be a ton of value to Terrance and like Terrance does with everything, he'll evaluate, learn and be a lot better because of it. His remaining three years will be fun to watch.
Jake Haynes (0-4)
Logan Bowman (14-12, 3 fall)
Tough, tough, tough.... that's what I think of as I think of Logan's incredible late season run. It wasn't long ago that Logan was not the starter and trying to dig deep internally. Coming off of his redshirt season, Logan had great expectations and it didn't start the way in which he'd like. Yet, as is the case with most within our program, he had great resiliency and kept pushing. Most saw great strides in a huge win against Notre Dame and match deciding wins at Millersville and Seton Hill.
This week, he was on fire. Logan lost in the quarterfinals after out wrestling his opponent for about 6 minutes. His opponent ended up second and Logan was left battling back through the consolations. Logan won three matches in a row to get into the 3rd/4th place match but was defeated by the #2 ranked wrestler in the country. The toughest part was that he then had to wrestle a true 4th place match, and even more so, against the #7 ranked wrestler in the country! Logan defeated him 4-0 to earn his first ever NCAA Tournament bid.
Corey Siegfried (9-7, W&J Champion)
Nathan Temple (6-4, 6th place Findlay Open)
Evan Roberts (1-6)
Miguel Staples (0-6)
REDSHIRTS (unattached wrestlers)
Ryan Winslow 10-5 (2nd place Findlay Open)
TJ Smith 4-7 (2nd JCU Open)
Maxwell Lacey 7-2 (8th CSU Open, 1st JCU Open)
Ki Ryder 2-0
Chase Logan 3-4
Tyler Jenkins 0-2
Brad Kakos 0-2
Tyler Knul 1-2
Seth Bloor 4-3 (4th JCU Open)
Have a great week ahead and be sure to follow us on all of our social media to get updates from Sioux Falls!!
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