Golden Bears Qualify Four for National Tournament

February 27, 2012

From WVU Tech Wrestling

Four members of the WVU Tech Golden Bears wrestling team were able to work their way through the brackets and earn spots in the NCWA National Tournament March 8th through 10th in Daytona Beach. Hosted by Liberty University, the Mid-Atlantic Regional was a proving ground for this young but talented Tech squad, providing them with a variety of challenges.

John Walters (Camden, DE) lead the team, finishing in second place at 149 pounds. In the semi-finals, John was able to defeat UMBC's defending national finalist Daniel Carr by a 9-4 score and guarantee his trip to the Nationals for a second year in a row. The final was a rematch of the Washington & Lee Invitational final, and this time Sean Porter of Southern Virginia University, was able get out to a 7-0 lead in the first period and reverse the result from January.

Clay County's Danny Suite (Wallback, WV) finished in 3rd place at 125 pounds, punching his ticket to Daytona Beach with a three and one record on the day. Danny was dominating in his wins, scoring three major decisions. Suite improved his record to 19-11 and leads the team in bonus point victories.

At 141, Conrad Lacey (Anchorage, AK) started fast, upsetting a seeded wrestler from Liberty in the first round by fall. The Anchorage Alaska native lost a tight decision in the quarterfinals to the third-ranked wrestler nationally, and then racked up two more falls and a major decision to wrestle back into the consolation finals, where he fell to the third seed, finishing in fourth place.

At 149, freshman Chance Smith (Stokesdale, NC) wrestled through illness and injury, and posted a four and two record on the day. Opening with a fall over his VMI opponent, Chance then lost a tight decision to the top seed in the quarterfinals. In the wrestle-backs he went on to earn 3 more hard fought decisions, ending up in 5th place and ensuring automatic qualification to the National Tournament.

Wrestling Coach Sam Gardner had this to say about his team's performance: I'm proud of my guys. They continue to show growth, both technically and tactically, when they compete, but more importantly they wrestled hard from whistle to whistle. We won some tight decisions that showed their toughness and guts, and we were able to score some big bonus point wins, which is a display of the killer instinct we are trying to instill in them. This was a really tough tournament. All these teams were fighting hard for the automatic qualifying spots, and the matches were hard fought and spirited. I think this was another step forward for our program. We've got some work to do to prep to Nationals, but I believe in these guys and their positive attitudes.

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