West Liberty's Bunch is National Qualifier


JOHNSTOWN, Pa. West Liberty's Darius Bunch notched a third-place finish at 133 pounds here Saturday while 197-pounder, Logan Kemp, fell just short of also earning a national tournament bid as the NCAA Division II Super Region One Wrestling Championships wrapped up its two-day run at the UPJ Sports Center.

Bunch, the nation's No. 1-ranked 133-pounder, had to bounce back from an upset loss in Saturday's championship semifinals to keep his national championship hopes alive.

Wheeling Jesuit's Dustin Warner used a strong third period to avenge an earlier loss to the Hilltopper standout with an 8-4 decision in the morning semis. With the match tied, 1-1, heading into the final two minutes, Warner caught Bunch with a reversal and picked up crucial near-fall points to take a 6-1 lead. Bunch responded with a late takedown of his own but couldn't get the back points he needed to advance.

That set up a showdown for Bunch with another upset victim, LIU-Post's No. 2-seeded Anthony Sparacio, in the consolation semifinals. Bunch made short work of the returning All-American, notching a takedown one minute into the match and powering his way to a fall at 2:49 to punch his ticket to nationals.

Bunch finished his day with a flourish, dominating Kutztown's Chris Crane throughout their Third-Place Match before coasting home with a 17-4 major decision, upping his record to an impressive 26-3 on the year.

Kemp just missed advancing to the 197-pound championship match, coming out on the short end of a 3-2 decision against Pitt-Johnstown's No. 2-seeded Anthony Niebauer in their 197-pound championship semifinal.

Niebauer notched the only takedown of the match midway through the opening period and that proved to be the difference. The wrestlers traded escapes out of the referee's position in the final two frames to conclude the scoring.

That sent Kemp into the consolation semifinals against Mercyhurst's No. 5-seeded Wes Phipps. Kemp took a 2-1 lead into the second period but Phipps turned the tide with a near-fall and pulled away to a 7-2 decision, dropping Kemp out of contention for a national tournament berth.

Kemp settled for a sixth place finish after falling to Millersville's Colton Dull in the Fifth Place Match.

Tanner Sutton, West Liberty's 149-pounder, had picked up a couple of clutch wins on Friday to stay alive for Saturday's action but couldn't get past his third-round consolation bout against Seton Hill's Austin Shaw.

Sutton jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but Shaw was able to turn the tables in the second period and ended the match with a fall at 3:43.

Defending national champion Notre Dame repeated as regional champion with 133.5 points. Pitt-Johnstown was second at 111.5 with Wheeling Jesuit (101.5), Gannon (85) and Mercyhurst (83) rounding out the top five.

The top four finishers in each weight class earn national tournament berths. This year's NCAA Division II National Championships will be held March 9-10 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Super Region One Championships
(at Johnstown, Pa.)

Team Scoring
1. Notre Dame 133.5;
2. Pitt-Johnstown 111.5;
3. Wheeling Jesuit 101.5;
4. Gannon 85;
5. Mercyhurst 83;
6. Seton Hill 69;
7. Kutztown 49.5;
8. Millersville 39.5;
9. LIU-Post 37.5;
10. WEST LIBERTY 33.5;
11. (tie) Alderson-Broaddus, Shippensburg 31;
13. Ohio Valley 19.5;
14. East Stroudsburg 8.5;
15. American International 7.5

West Liberty Individuals

Third Place Match
133: Darius Bunch (WLU) md. Chris Crane (Kutz), 17-3

Fifth Place Match
197: Colton Dull (Mill) p. Logan Kemp (WLU), 2:39

Championship Semifinals
133: Dustin Warner (WJU) d. Darius Bunch (WLU), 8-4
197: Levi Niebauer (UPJ) d. Logan Kemp (WLU), 3-2

Consolation Semifinals
133: Darius Bunch (WLU) p. Anthony Sparacio (LIU-P), 2:49
197: Wes Phipps (Mercy) d. Logan Kemp (WLU), 7-2

Consolation Quarterfinals
149: Austin Shaw (SHU) p. Tanner Sutton (WLU), 3:43

West Liberty Individuals
First Round Championship
125: Corey Secrist (WLU) d. David Reagan (Ship), 9-5
133: Darius Bunch (WLU) received a bye
141: Tyler Warner (WJU) p. Logan Arneson (WLU), 4:05
149: Tanner Sutton (WLU) p. Daniel Espineira (LIU-P), 2:57
157: TJ Fabian (LIU-P) d. Josh Cornell (WLU), 9-2
165: Shane Ruhnke (Mill) tf. Miles Mazik (WLU), 18-3
174: Dan Arkow (LIU-P) d. Chance Morgan (WLU), 9-2
184: Cole Ritchie (AB) d. Chris Cook (AB), 6-2
197: Logan Kemp (WLU) p. Daniel Makagon (ESU), 1:11
285: Damon Sims (UPJ) p. Ronnie D'Amico (WLU), 2:10

Championship Quarterfinals
125: Brendan Howard (UPJ) md. Corey Secrist (WLU), 14-4
133: Darius Bunch (WLU) d. Dante Steffenino (Ship), 7-5
149: Corey Falleroni (UPJ) d. Tanner Sutton (WLU), 9-5
197: Logan Kemp (WLU) d. Colton Dull (Mill), 5-2

First Round Consolation
141: Logan Arneson (WLU) d. Kevin Contantine (Mill), 6-3
157: Josh Cornell (WLU) p. Sam Phillips (OVU), 2:02
165: Tyler Seliga (SHU) d. Miles Mazik (WLU), 12-8
174: Ryan Narber (Ship) d. Chance Morgan (WLU), 11-5
184: Chris Cook (WLU) received a bye
285: Ronnie D'Amico (WLU) md. Hunter Marhan (ESU), 13-3

Second Round Consolation
125: Breandon Couglin (AB) p. Corey Secrist (WLU), 1:24
141: Kevin Kinyua (Mercy) tf. Logan Arneson (WLU), 16-0
149: Tanner Sutton (WLU) p. Andrew Forino (AB), 1:17
157: Zach Voytek (SHU) d. Josh Cornell (WLU), 6-1
184: Alex Delp (UPJ) d. Chris Cook (WLU), 10-8
285: Jacob Robb (Mercy) p. Ronnie D'Amico (WLU), 4:02

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