Monday, November 20, 2023

Findlay Open Recap & Review (2023-2024)


In the world of NCAA Division II wrestling, the University of Findlay put on a tough tournament full of some great wrestling.  For those of you that enjoy historical moments, we got to see a few happen here as well.  Let's take a weight by weight look at what transpired in Northwest Ohio. 

Shane Corrigan Dominates 125 lbs bracket 

It was fairly easy pickins for the Ranger as he took out DI opponent Peyton Fenton of Ohio State 13-5 in the semi-finals & made short work of Aaron Lucio of Grand Valley State in the finals with a 15-0 technical fall.  Corrigan was 4th in last year's championships. 

All American Vincent Scollo Wins 133 lbs bracket

A Findlay Open runner-up last season, Vincent Scollo of West Liberty would not be denied a title this season.  In route to the title he had to overcome a tough Elijah Anthony of Indiana Tech who is currently ranked #10 in the NAIA.  It was a 4-0 victory for the Hilltopper.  Scollo then defeated Jeremiah Echevarria of Gannon 7-0 in the finals, who himself had a tough 7-6 tiebreaker over Matt Chi of UW-Parkside in the semi-finals. 

The most surprising thing about 133 lbs here at the Findlay Open was Gavin Ritter of Indianapolis failing to place within the top six.  The two time Super Region III place-winner lost an 8-7 match to Chi & then lost a 9-4 decision to Ryan Wehner of Lake Erie in the match to medal. 

Cayden Henschel Puts on Clinic At 141 lbs

Cayden Henschel of UW-Parkside met fellow NCAA Division II qualifier Ray Rioux of Indianapolis in the finals. Often demonstrating technique in various youtube videos for young wrestlers, Henschel displayed some of those same techniques in a dominating 13-3 victory.  Rioux for record, was 3rd in these championships last season. 

A First for Grand Valley State At 149 lbs 

Just a few weeks ago we were witness to the restoration of a great NCAA Division II team that we had lost 30 years ago. A team that had won five conference titles & secured three top 10 finishes at the NCAA Division II championships.  Ever since being reinstated, the Lakers have wasted no time in showcasing that they are ready for greatness once again.  Last weekend we saw three champs crowned at the Muskegon Open.  This weekend, Chris Donothan won the first of what would eventually be three titles for Lakers. 

The shocking factor in this weight class wasn't so much that the 2023 JohnnyThompsonnum1 Sportsmanship award winner & All American Christian Small of Lake Erie defeated Jalen Spuhler of UW-Parkside 9-3 in the quarter-finals.  What was a headscratcher is that Small would then forfeit out of the rest of the tournament taking 4th place.  Had a hard time making sense of that, but this is college wrestling. Mystery is a part of it. 

Drew Wiechers Takes Out Division I Opponent in Finals at 157 lbs 

A great tournament for Drew Wiechers of Ashland who dominated the 157 lbs bracket.  Not only did the two time NCAA DII qualifier who was 5th in the DII nation in 2022 score an impressive 10-2 major decision over Max Stedeford of Mercyhurst in the semi finals, it took him all of  1:29 to stick Division I opponent Chandler Amaker of Central Michigan in the finals. 

Stedeford himself came back to claim 3rd place in a wild 14-13 slobberknocker with Logan Sanom of Findlay. Sanom himself went into overtime with Amaker, losing an 8-5 sudden victory. Sanom pinned Stedeford at last year's Findlay Open. So a little revenge for the Laker. 

Another Victory For DII Over DI at 165 lbs 

It took overtime to do it, but Dillon Walker of Mercyhurst was able to overcome DI opponent Carter Chase 4-1 in the finals at 165 lbs. 

Grand Valley Crowns Another Champion at 174 lbs 

Former Campbell Camel Josh Kenny of Grand Valley State handed Brody Hemauer who also finished 2nd at last year's championships another silver medal as he defeated the Ranger 13-9 in the finals. 

West Liberty's Ty McGeary At 184 lbs, Only 2022 Champion To Repeat

Only one champion from last year's Findlay Open repeated as champion this year & you're looking at him.  West Liberty's Ty McGeary.  Now I do have a complaint about the seeding here at the tournament.  I'd like to know how in the Hell McGeary got placed up with Reece Woracheck of UW-Parkside in the first round!  This made absolutely no sense whatsoever.  Woracheck was not only 3rd at last year's Findlay Open, he's also a two time NCAA DII All American!  Sometimes seeding is just plain stupid & it certainly was here.  Nevetheless McGeary won a hard fought 4-2 match & seeing that 5th was then the highest that Woracheck could have taken, he of course took it.  This should have been our final.  Terrible seeding. 

Grand Valley State Crowns Third Champion at 197 lbs 

It took a lot of work to overcome a tough Marvelous Ruttledge of Notre Dame in the finals, but Wyattt Miller was able to do so with an 8-5 victory in over time. 

The REAL Notre Dame Is In The House! 

I said at the beginning of the year that I felt that La'Ron Parks of the REAL Notre Dame was one of the best wrestlers in the NAIA yet to earn All American.  He provided example as to why I say that this weekend. Caden Ferris of Central Michigan defeated last year's Findlay Open Champion Lloyd Reynolds of UW-Parkside 5-2 in the semi-finals.  Parks was then able to control his DI opponent with a solid 6-1 decision over Ferris in the finals. 

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