Friday, January 20, 2023

2023 Middle Atlantic Conference Tournament Preview (Sat 1-21)

The Middle Atlantic Conference tournament is a small NCAA Division III tournament consisting of eight programs, four of which are ranked in the top 25. This includes #3 Stevens, #17 Alvernia, #23 York (PA) & #25 Lycoming. Although there are only eight teams, the conference tournament allows more than one wrestler per weight class to enter the tournament. Although some brackets will be rather small, others could be as many as a 16 man. Each weight class places the top 6 wrestlers. 

125 lbs 

A very young weight class made up of mostly sophomores with one freshman & one junior. Currently at 15-0, I would look for Stevens' Luke Hoerle to win this bracket. Not only does he own a 6-3 victory over Jacob Blair & a 7-2 victory over Austin Fashouer, he annihilated last year's champion Jared Kuhns 18-5.  A bit of parity consist between Kuhns, Fashouer & Blair.  Fashouer owns a 6:03 fall over Kuhns, as Kuhns owns an 11-3 major over Blair & Blair owns a 6-2 decision over Fashouer.  It'll be interesting to see how all of this works itself out in the seeding. Both Fashouer & Kuhns are undefeated against Keito Shaw, as Fashouer owns both a 5-2 decision as well as a 6:51 fall over the Golden Wolf. Kuhns has dominated Shaw in three meetings, 15-3, 9-1 & 18-3 technical fall.  I would imagine our 5th/6th place match to be between Shaw & Kaden Majcher. I would hope for it to be as action packed & exciting as was their last meeting.  Shawn won a 17-15 sudden victory. 

133 lbs

I would say there's a pretty good chance we see a repeat of York's Dalton Rohrbaugh winning the MAC championship this tournament. 3rd in the NCAA Division III nationals last year, he is currently at 14-2.  He owns a 2:38 fall over Gustav Petruske & a 18-3 tech over Nick Germano.  His best competition will come from freshman Nico Diaz of Stevens. The rookie owns a 13-4 record at the moment & he took Rohrbaugh to the edge in a 9-8 loss. I'd bet on this being our final. Petruske looks like a good candidate for 3rd, currently 11-3 on the season. Battling out for the other three spots on the award stand will be Germano, Sam Hanley & Ryan Kelly. Kelly put together an impressive 28-10 record last season at 125 lbs, but thus far the move up to 133 has been a bit more of a struggle. 

Lastly, there is a chance we could see Rashad Stratton of Delaware Valley compete as well. I doubt it seeing that he hasn't competed yet this season. Nevertheless he does own a 0:46 fall over Petruske (also lost to him 5-3 & a 3:50 fall) & a 6-0 decision over Germano. We could also possibly see Arjun Khatri who recently wrestled for the first time this season last week. He's listed as a 133 lbs'er but dropped a match at 125 lbs to Austin Fashouer. 

141 lbs 

I don't think there is anything that is going to stop Stevens' Kyle Slendorn from winning his third MAC title. Twice 4th in the NCAA DIII championships, I think he'll breeze through the entire tournament, although I am anxious to see if Wilkes' Jack Bauer might be able to give him a decent fight in the finals. Bauer was a runner-up at 133 last season. Challenging Bauer for a spot in the finals, if he wrestles this tournament will be Quinn Tobin of Alvernia.  Thus far we haven't seen the Golden Wolf in action this season, but prior results indicate what he's capable of.  A pinner, he's pinned Asa Brunk (1:34), Wiley Kahler (6:30), Bryan Diaz (3:13) & Mike Rubino (2:13).  He also owns a 16-0 tech over Brunk as well as a 5-3 decision over Diaz.  He was 3rd in last year's championships.  Avery Leonard a freshman for the Golden Wolves has looked quite good this season himself. 20-6 thus far, he owns a 9-5 victory over Brunk. I would look for Delaware Valley's Mike Rubino to place in the top 6 here as he owns a 4-1 victory over Diaz & he was 4th here last season.  He could very well meet Brunk in the 5th place match, who himself owns a 12-2 victory over Diaz. 

149 lbs 

A runner-up finish at 133 lbs in 2020 & a runner-up finish last season at 157 lbs, Hunter Gutierrez will try his luck at 149 lbs this season, as he will most likely be the *1 seed. There is a likelihood that we could get an all Duck final as it wouldn't surprise me to see Pasquale Vizzoni get the *2 seed & make the finals. The battle for 3rd place here I would imagine to be between Lycoming's Logan Barlett & Messiah's Camerin Deville. Thus far the Warrior owns two victories over the Falcon including a 3:00 fall & a 5-0 decision. 

157 lbs 

A very interesting weight class with quite a bit of parity. Jared Bair of York has essentially owned Greg Croce every time the two have wrestled.  He owns a 14-0 major, a 21-5 technical fall & an 18-3 technical fall over the Aggie. At the same time though Croce also owns a 6:26 fall over him. In relation to parity, Croce also owns a 7-3 victory over Robert Lawlor of Alvernia, who in turn owns a 12-1 major decision over Garret Cornell of Messiah. Cornell pinned Croce is 2:05. Stevens as expected, has two valuable contenders in Ryan Smith & Jonah Schechtman. Smith, a freshman with a 9-3 record, owns an 8-3 victory over Croce.  Schechtman a two time MAC place-winner, owns a 10-2 major over Lawlor.  How this bracket ends up being seeded & how it'll play out will be fun. 

165 lbs 

 I'm not sure if Stevens will enter all of their 165 lbs'ers or not, but if they do, it'll make placing within the top 6 quite a challenge for those in this bracket. First and foremost, our champion here is gonna be Matt Lackman of Alvernia.  A champion here last year & 5th in the NCAA Division III championships, he is currently 28-0. He'll rip through this bracket as if it were tinfoil. It'll nothing more for him than practice. He's Tech'd both Zach Needles & Jack Bailey and he pinned Charles Everdale in 2:09.  He owns a 10-0 major over Kade Kravits. 

The real question here is who will meet Lackman in the finals? It very well could be Needles who has had his way with James Snyder on two occasions in a 13-6 major decision as well as 12-0 major decision.  He also owns a 4-1 decision over Harrison Hinojosa as well as a 1:26 fall over Everdale.  I also think it could be Kravits, a two time MAC place-winner who ironically enough hasn't faced any of the other competition outside of Lackman. 

Whoever loses between Needles & Kravits, I would think will most likely be duking it out Snyder for 3rd. Snyder owns three decisive victories over Bailey 13-4, 13-4 & 12-2. He also owns a tight 5-4 decision over Chris Stathopoulos, as well as a 10-4 decision & a 3:32 fall over Everdale.  Stathopoulos owns a 1:14 fall over Everdale.  Hinojosa owns both a 3:09 fall over Bailey & a 3:51 fall over Everdale. Bailey owns a 2:40 fall over Everdale. In other words, it's gonna be a long road for Everdale if he wants to earn another top 6 showing. 

Last but not least in this bracket we have Chase Chapman who I really don't know what to think of yet.  He was at 141 last year & he took 6th in the MAC.  Now he's up three weight classes. He fits in here somewhere. 

174 lbs 

Looks to be an all Stevens final as two time MAC finalist/last year's champion Stefan Major has done exactly what he said he would do & stayed one step ahead of teammate Joel Martsinovsky.  As the two continue to battle one another, Major has won every battle thus far. He owns decisions of 3-1, 5-2 & 3-2 over his likely finals opponent.  I would look for our consolation final to be Alvernia's Gavin Hollingsworth against Delaware Valley's Luke Moore.  Major owns a 10-5 decision over Moore & a 1:09 fall over Hollingsworth.  Martsinovsky owns a 16-6 major over Hollingsworth. 

184 lbs 

As 174 lbs looks to be an all Stevens final, 184 lbs could very well turn out to be an all Alvernia final as we take a look at this rather competitive weight class.  Our forerunner for a title here is last year's champion, Isaac Kassis. The sophomore NCAA DIII qualifier currently carries a 22-5 record & he's defeated nearly everyone that he will have to face tomorrow. Against teammate Mauro Pellot he owns two falls, one in 2:20 & the other at 7:00.  He's defeated Frank Medina by a 7-4 decision & although Ryder Slayton has been able to keep it close with him each time, Kassis has came out on top 8-3 & twice by a 3-1 s.v.  Pellot has also been able to stay ahead of Slayton with 5-2 & 3-2 decisions. 

Frank Median owns a 6-1 decision over Slayton & a 5:00 fall over John Devito. In turn Devito owns an 11-7 decision over teammate Chris Nuss. 

197 lbs 

Another fun, competitive weight class where the competition is familiar with one another.  Our forerunner here looks to be York All American Cam Farrow as he's literally beaten everyone here. 7-1 & 6-0 decisions over Cameron Butka, he's defeated Joe Embleton 5-0 & 10-6. Three victories over Gable Crebs (5-2, 14-10 & a 1:57 fall) he's defeated Isaiah Johnson 22-9 major decision & 18-3 technical fall. I wouldn't necessarily call him a shoe-in for this year's MAC title, but I would call it an extremely high probability. 

Finals opponent?  Fellow All American Gable Crebs looks to be a top candidate. Currently at 22-1, he owns an 8-2 victory over Farrow & he's defeated Butka twice (7-3 & a 57 second fall.)  He's never faced Eckley who was 2nd last year as a freshman at HWT.  If Vs like opponents has anything to do with it, I'd give the advantage to Crebs, but in this sport anything can happen. We've already seen 1,000,000 upsets this season & I'm sure the MAC tournament will have plenty. 

Johnson has defeated Embleton twice by a 6-1 score & a 3:00 fall. However, Embleton does own a 5-2 victory over him.  Butka on the other hand has defeated both Johnson & Embleton on two occasions.  Against Embleton he owns a 9-5 decision & a 4:40 fall.  Against Johnson he owns a 14-4 major decision & a 3-2 decision. 


With three wrestlers ranked in the top 15, three returning MAC champions & a runner-up, I would most certainly call HWT the toughest weight class in the Middle Atlantic Conference.  We're gonna see some great matches a a real fight to make the finals. 

Gonna guess that Lycoming All American John Fulmer at 23-1 will take the *1 seed here.  In his first meeting with Palmer Rodenhaber he won easily 10-1 major decision, but meeting #2 proved to be a bit more difficult as he won 4-2 s.v.  Same case with Carter Urich, who he pinned in 2 minutes upon meeting number one, but barely escaped 1-0 in meeting #2.  He also owns a 12-3 major decision over Caleb Burkhart & a 1:52 fall over Nevin Rauch. 

Along with taking Fulmer into overtime, Rodenhaber, a two time NCAA DIII qualifier in his own right, owns both an 8-1 decision as well as a 6:55 fall over Austin Williams. Against Urich, he has pinned the Falcon every time the two have stepped on the mat.  2:37, 2:29 & 6:51 have been the time of the falls. 

Mike Dooley of Stevens is our monkey wrench here.  I would think due to current rankings & the fact that he's new to the HWT class, that he'll most likely take a *3 seed behind both Fulmer & Rodenhaber. No doubt about it, having won his first two MAC titles at 197, the senior Duck will want to leave his final tournament with a third gold medal.  He owns a 16-7 major over Burkhart. 

With this weight already featuring three ranked wrestlers, Urich would make four, but he hasn't competed yet this season.  For the record he does own an 11-2 major over Fulmer as well as a 3-1 s.v. over Williams & a 2:44 fall over Rauch. 

Williams at 18-2, not only owns a 7-3 decision over Burkhart, but he also owns a 5-2 decision over Rodenhaber as well as a 12-2 major over Fulmer. 

Lastly, Burkhart owns both an 11-3 major as well as a 2:21 fall over Rauch, as Rach owns a 1:09 fall over Williams. 

Parity anyone? 

This whole tournament will be a fun ride & I encourage wrestling fans to check it out. 

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