Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Central Regional Preview - DIII - (Feb 26th & 27th, 2022)


Twenty teams, two days worth of wrestling & only three wrestlers per weight class make it to the NCAA DIII tournament.  Trying to decipher who exactly these three guys will be in each weight class isn't easy. There are a lot of good wrestlers in the Central Regional. Nevertheless, I took a stab at predicting.  Here's what I see going down. 

125 lbs 

Since transferring from Ohio State, Jacob Decatur has more or less had his way in DIII competing for Baldwin Wallace.  I believe his competition for a Central Regional title will be in Jack Stanley of Mount Union and Carlos Champagne of Wabash.  Decatur has already defeated both, with a 8-3 decision over Stanley and a 7-2 decision over Champagne. Champagne was an DIII All American in 2019, finishing 7th.  

133 lbs 

I think we're looking at a final between two former NCAA DIII qualifiers in John Carroll's Andrew Perelka & Mount Union's David Massey.  The last the two met, Massey walked away with a 6-2 victory. The battle for 3rd/Qualification I see being between Jaden Hinton of Baldwin Wallace & Blake McGee of Wabash.  McGee won the last meeting, 5-3. 

141 lbs 

An NCAA DIII champion in 2019, I think we're looking at our 2022 Central Regional Champion in Jordin James.  Per the competition, he owns victories of 14-5, 8-4 & 10-5 over Jarrod Brezovec of John Carroll, an 8-3 decision over Jacob Reed of Ohio Northern & a 17-5 major decision over Reese Wallis of Olivet. 

Brezovec a two-time NCAA DII qualifier owns a 2-0 decision over Wallis.  Wallis did qualify for the DIII's last season, but has a heck of a road ahead of him to do so again this season, as he also has two losses to Reed by scores of 2-0 & 3-1 sudden victory.   

Another possible top 3 place-winner/qualifier here is Wabash's Daniel Uribe who owns a 3-2 victory over Reed. 

149 lbs 

My guess would lead me to believe that one one end of the bracket we'll see a semi-final between Michael Petrella of Baldwin Wallace & Hunter Murphy of Olivet and on the other we'll see Alex Barr of Wabash and Chase Sumner of Ohio Northern.  Petrella and Murphy have yet to meet, whereas Barr an NCAA DIII qualifier in 2020 owns a 6-4 victory over Sumner, who was also an NCAA DIII qualifier in 2020.  For the record, Murphy was an NCAA DII qualifier last season. 

Either way, Petrella has himself a match, as he needed overtime to defeat Sumner 7-5 & he barely squeaked by Barr 1-0.   

Barr defeated Murphy by a score of 7-2. 

Either way you slice it, semi-final will be a tough hard fought win & the consolation final, with everything on the line, even tougher. 

157 lbs 

Stanley Bleich of Baldwin Wallace, Ryan Whitten of Otterbein & Jayce Kuehnlein of Alma have all made it to the NCAA DIII tournament before.  I think they all stand a good chance at making it again, although it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Luke Reicosky of John Carroll take a top three spot.  

Reicosky owns a 3-2 victory over Whitten & he barely lost to Bleich 4-3.   Bleich has 12-4 & 3-1 victories over Whitten, as the rest of the field will be meeting for the first time this tournament. 

165 lbs 

Very confident that one of our qualifiers & likely champion will be Kyle Hatch of Wabash. Anything can happen, but he does have an exceptionally high ranking & it took him all of 1:28 to pin Dalton Leightner of Baldwin Wallace.  

As to who our 2nd & 3rd place wrestlers will be? 

Patrick McGraw of John Carroll makes a case.  Two wins over Jordan Hardrick of Ohio Northern by scores of 6-4 & 7-5 as well as a 15-2 major over Leightner. He has a 6-3 loss to Dylan Briggs of Olivet. 

Hardrick, owns a 7-5 victory over Leightner & has a 6-1 loss to Briggs. 

Briggs has defeated Leightner twice by scores of 6-2 & 8-2. 

Leightner an NCAA DIII qualifier in 2020 has an impressive record on the season.  (As of the time this was written) 24 wins against only 7 losses. Problem is, 4 of those 7 losses are to in-region opponents.  It'll be tough for him to make it back to D3 Nationals. 

174 lbs 

One thing I'm sure of at 174 lbs in the Central Regional is that Cornell Beachem of Mount St Joseph is going to be making his third trip to the NCAA DIII's.  Who's going with him? Well if I had to guess, which is what I'm doing now, my $$'s on T.J. Rhamy of Heidelberg and Owen Guilford of Olivet. 

184 lbs 

I think this one might end up being a little more cut and dry.  I see a final between Lucas Salmon of Baldwin Wallace & Antonio McCloud of Mount St Joseph, who was a DIII All American in 2019 with an 8th place finish.  The battle for 3rd here ought to be real interesting. I'm predicting a consolation final of Joey Bradberry of Otterbein & Michael Jacobs of Adrian.  The two have split with Jacobs winning a 2-0 sudden victory and Bradberry winning a 4-3 match. Jacobs was an NCAA DIII qualifier last season. 

197 lbs 

Baldwin Wallace's Doug Byrne, an NCAA DIII qualifier in 2020 looks to be our forerunner for a Central Regional champion this year.  A likely opponent in the semi-finals will be Jack Heldt of Wabash, who Byrne has defeated 6-3.  I predict that He'll either meet Cash Thompson of Ohio Northern or Jarrod Setliff of Otterbein in the semi-finals. He's defeated Thompson twice by scores of 8-3 & 6-0.  He's defeated Setliff three times by a 14-2 major decision, a 47 second fall and a 9-4 decision.  Heldt has pinned Thompson in 4:30.  

As to Thompson and Setliff, which I believe should be our consolation final, Thompson pinned Setliff in 5:49 & Setliff defeated Thompson 7-3. 


With his only loss on the season being to a DI opponent, Max Bishop shouldn't have much if any problem securing himself a Central Regional title.  It seems like it'd be a no brainer as to who Olivet is going to start here, but I'm still not for certain.  Donovan King has the ranking, but it was Dominick Wilson who finished 4th at the DIII's (NWCA's to be technical) last season.  Either guy Olivet puts in here, is a likely qualifier. 

Isaiah Espinoza  with 8th at least year's DIII's (NWCA's).  For what it's worth he has two victories, 3-1 and 3-2 over Wilson.  I believe he'll battle along with Jace Grossman of Heidelberg for a spot in the top three and a trip to the NCAA DIII tournament. 


11 of the 20 teams qualifying at least one if not more wrestlers to the DIII tournament. Would like to have seen more, but a little over half is about expected. With so many teams & so few qualification spots, not every team is going to push some body on through.  

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