Weakley, Williams Grab All-American Accolades At NCAA Championships
KEARNEY, Neb. – Russell Weakley and Mike Williams each used key wins in the consolation bracket to grab all-American accolades for the second-straight season and highlight action for No. 17 UNCP at the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships on Friday at Nebraska-Kearney's Health and Sports Center.
The Braves currently sit in a three-way tie for 20th place with 10 points after day one. Top-ranked Nebraska-Omaha currently leads the 31-team field with 57-1/2 points, while No. 4 Augustana is second with 54-1/2 points. Second-ranked St. Cloud State (47 points), No. 3 Newberry (41) and No. 9 Grand Canyon (38-1/2) round out the top five. Both Nebraska-Omaha and Augustana each have seven wrestlers still alive in the tournament.
Williams, the top-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds in the latest NCAA Division II Rankings, passed his opening test of the day with a 6-1 win over top-ranked Nebraska-Omaha's Nathan Sigman, but faltered in the championship quarterfinals on the heels of an 11-8 loss to fourth-ranked Gavin Nelson of Augustana (S.D.). The Plainfield, N.J., native would recover just in time, however, and used a late third-period takedown in the consolation bracket to take a tight 3-2 decision over Minnesota State-Mankato's Brandon Eichmann.
Williams is now set to lock horns with fifth-ranked Matt Gille of Wisconsin-Parkside in Saturday's consolation quarterfinals. It will mark the first meeting between the two wrestlers this season.
Weakley took a different route to his second all-American laurels after dropping his opening match of the day in the 125-pound tournament to No. 1 Trevor Franklin of Upper Iowa – a 5-2 decision. The Fort Madison, Iowa, product would cruise past San Francisco State's Pierre Bondoc in his consolation opener by virtue of a 9-1 major decision, before throttling third-ranked Kyle O'Brien of Western State by a 10-3 decision in the second round of the wrestleback tournament.
Weakley, ranked fifth in his weight class in the latest NCAA Division II Rankings, will battle eighth-ranked Corey Ulmer of Minnesota State-Moorhead in Saturday's consolation quarterfinals. Weakley previously upended Ulmer with a 5-4 decision on January 8 at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Timdarius Thurston rebounded from a tough 3-1 loss to top-ranked Todd Wilcox of Grand Canyon in his opening match of the day in the 133-pound championship by posting a 6-4 decision over Eric Ellington in the consolation bracket. Western State's Jesse Cruz would turn back Thurston's bid for all-America status in the second round of the wrestleback tournament, however, by booking an escape in the second tiebreak period.
Brendon Parker-Risk dropped his opener to third-ranked Nick Walpole via a first-period pin (1:53) in the 149-pound bracket, and then fell in his consolation opener on a 4-1 decision to Ashland's Daniel Genetin.
Session three of the postseason gala is set to get underway at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday. The third session will include the remainder of the consolation matches, as well as all action in the championship bracket, with the exception of the championship bouts.
No. 1 Trevor Franklin (Upper Iowa) dec. No. 5 Russell Weakley (UNCP) D 5-2
No. 5 Russell Weakley (UNCP) maj. dec. Pierre Bondoc (San Francisco State) M 9-1
No. 5 Russell Weakley (UNCP) dec. No. 3 Kyle O'Brien (Western State) D 10-3
No. 1 Todd Wilcox (Grand Canyon) dec. Timdarius Thurston (UNCP) D 3-1
Timdarius Thurston (UNCP) dec. Eric Ellington (St. Cloud State) D 6-4
Jesse Cruz (Western State) dec. Timdarius Thurston (UNCP) TB2 3-1
No. 3 Nick Walpole (Indianapolis) pinned Brendon Parker-Risk (UNCP) F 1:53
Daniel Genetin (Ashland) dec. Brendon Parker-Risk (UNCP) D 4-1
No. 1 Mike Williams (UNCP) dec. Nathan Sigman (Nebraska-Omaha) D 6-1
No. 4 Gavin Nelson (Augustana, S.D.) dec. No. 1 Mike Williams (UNCP) D 11-8
No. 1 Mike Williams (UNCP) dec. Brandon Eichmann (Minnesota State-Mankato) D 3-2