Monday, February 26, 2024

2024 Mideast Regional Preview (March 1st & 2nd)


Much like I did with the Central Regional & like I'll do with the other four regionals, my goal today is to try and determine at each weight class, who will be our NCAA DIII qualifiers. The Mideast Regional is full of talent and it'll be a dogfight at some of these weight classes to walk away with a top three finish.  There will be a lot of good wrestlers staying home. 

125 lbs 

With as much talent as their is returning in this weight class it's hard to believe, but the results & statistics don't lie...I'm pretty sure we're gonna see a freshman champ here at 125 lbs in the Mideast Regional.  Matt Griffin of The College of New Jersey is having himself an outstanding here.  He nearly tech'd two time Mideast Regional runner-up Joey Lamparelli of Muhlenberg 18-4 & he stuck two time Mideast Regional champion J.C. Cardenas of SUNY-Cortland at the 6:42 mark.  This kid is for real & despite some losses scattered throughout the season, he's one to keep an eye on. 

Nonetheless, still not completely counting out Lamparelli or Cardenas for gold. Lamparelli was 8th in the D3 nation last season & competing at 133 lbs, Cardenas was R12.  This year Lamparelli won another Centennial Conference title, placing 2nd at Petrofes.  Cardenas won another SUNY-AC title, placing 4th at the prestigious Pete Willson Invitational. 

Do we have a darkhorse here?  Yes, we do.  I say it is Jack Thode of Centenary.  If anyone is gonna knock off any of these three in a huge upset this weekend, it's Thode. Despite a 13-3 loss to Griffin earlier this season, he had a 7-6 match with Lamparelli.  I say that Lamparelli Vs Cardenas will be a good semi-final & then whoever doesn't win that match ends up having to face Thode in the consolation final to see who's heading to La Crosse, Wisconsin & who's not. 

141 lbs

Here's the kinda weight class that will really keep you on your toes. Danny Haws who was 3rd in the Mideast Regional last season, has looked absolutely stupendous this year.  Talk about improvement, up until February 16th, he was undefeated.  Then the #4 ranked wrestler in the D3 nation dropped a jaw dropping 8-2 decision to Kyle Nase of The College of New Jersey.  What does one make of that information?  How much weight will that particular loss carry into the Mideast Regional this weekend?  Will it have an effect on seeding? Or will it be chalked up as an off day for Haws & he'll still receive the *1 seed? 

Other plausible Mideast Champs to consider are Isaias Torres of Ithaca and Zach Levey of Alfred State.  Head to head, Torres owns a 7-1 s.v. over Levey.  Torres returns a Mideast Regional runner-up who finished one match shy of D3 All American honors.  This season, he has runner-up finishes at both the Ithaca Invitational as well as the SUNY-AC.  Levey 26-2 on the season, was an NCAA DIII qualifier in 2022, but slipped to a Mideast Regional 7th place finish last year.   Thus far this season, he owns a 3rd place finish at the New Standard Invite & he majored Nase 13-3. 

So does Nase remain a darkhorse? I would think so & if he does, as does Anthony Romero of SUNY-Oneonta.  Romero has a 5-1 decision over Nase.

141 lbs

At 141, I would say that gold and silver are spoken for.  Last year's champion (and 3rd in '22) Xavier Pena of Ithaca is currently undefeated at 25-0.  Between opens, invitationals, and classics, Pena has won four titles thus far in '23-'24. Perhaps he'll win another title this weekend.  Standing in his way will be Mercyhurst transfer Alex Samson who now represents St John Fisher.  Winning a SUNY-AC title earlier this year, he is also undefeated at 17-0.  Awesome to be pretty positive that in their second year since restoration the Cardinals will have a qualifier? 

Bronze?  Now that's gonna be fun and interesting.  Michael Blando of SUNY-Oneonta & Noah Hunt of Penn Tech are currently 2-2.  Guess what?  They've BOTH pinned one another TWICE!  Blando 6th & 5th in the Mideast Regional has 2:14 & 1:55 falls over Hunt.  Hunt 5th & 6th the past two seasons, owns 5:26 & 3:39 falls over Blando.   Now does that make the betting game fun or what?  Who sticks who?  All on the line for a Q to D3 nationals! 

149 lbs

*NOTE* Matt Beyer is actually ranked #7

Makes you sick to your stomach to know that two of the talents I have listed here will not end up going to the NCAA Division III national tournament.  In a world of supply and demand, be there not a greater case made than that of the one that testifies that D3 should be a 32 man bracket. It's asinine how many deeply skilled wrestlers miss out on competing because the number of qualifiers is so little. There are four returning qualifiers here & at least one of them (if not more) won't be going to Wisconsin here in a couple of weeks. 

18-0 on the season, a 13-5 major of Thomas Monn of McDaniel & a 10-4 decision over Mike Glynn of R.I.T., #2 Angelo Centrone of SUNY-Cortland is our obvious favorite to win the Mideast Regional title this weekend.  With that said, he's not invincible and he'll want to be on his toes the entire tournament.  Matt Beyer of Ithaca has pinned him in the past. 

As to our potential runner up, based on seeds that could very well be Monn, who won a Mideast Regional title last season, then finishing 6th at the NCAA D3 championships.  28-4, he owns both a 2-1 decision as well as a 3:45 fall over Beyer. 

In terms of improvement, Glynn is 23-2 on the year. Having finished 5th & 8th in the Regional the past two seasons, he's hoping to earn a top three spot. Won't be easy as Beyer has defeated him on three prior occasions, 10-3, 10-2, & 4-3.  Beyer also has three victories over Mike Conklin of TCNJ (3-1, 9-3, & 7-2).

Conklin two seasons ago was a Mideast Regional runner-up, capturing 8th place at the NCAA DIII tournament.  Last year he was 5th in the Regional.  He owns three wins over Glynn (3-2, 8-0 & 5-1) & he's defeated Beyer in the past by an 8-7 score. 

Did I make myself clear on how tough this bracket is going to be? 

157 lbs 

Doesn't matter what font I use, Wenchard Pierre-Louis won't fit in the picture. Nonetheless WPL of Ithaca was a Mideast Regional champion last season & I say he repeats as champion this year.  Owns a 8:55 fall over Xavier Howard of McDaniel.  As to Howard, he'll be in a fight with Jeff Johnson to see who meets WPL in the finals & I say whoever doesn't win the match, comes back and takes 3rd.  Howard has the higher ranking, but head to head, Johnson owns a 7-2 victory over Howard.   Johnson was an NCAA D3 qualifier in 2022 with a 3rd place Mideast Regional finish  Unfortunately he ended up getting injured in last year's championships & had to medical forfeit out.  13-1, he's looking to reclaim his status this weekend. 

165 lbs 

While some things are up in the air, crazy and unpredictable, others remain pretty clear, cut and dry.  I'd almost guarantee a final here between TCNJ's Nick Sacco & Elizabethtown's Brian Schneider.  Sacco at 21-2, was a Mideast Regional champion last season, finishing 4th in the D3 nation.  Schneider at 24-3, is thus far a three time Mideast Regional place-winner at 6th-5th-3rd.  I say he earns his fourth medal & that medal is most likely going to be silver.  

As to bronze.  At 19-4, I think we're likely to see freshman Shawn Marchesano of Ursinus take that 3rd place spot.  He does have some odd losses this season, including a 6-0 loss to Ryan Ohler of McDaniel, but it's also a fact that Marchesano wrestles better in tournaments than he does in duals.  He won the Citrus & Abele Invitationals, as well as a Centennial Conference title earlier this season. Where by the way, he avenged his loss to Ohler with an 8-5 decision. 

174 lbs 

Well, back to chaos.  There's around 300+ (accounting for the fact that not all teams have full rosters) varsity wrestlers per weight class in NCAA Division III wrestling. Here we have four (which in all sense of reality should be five) of the top twenty & only three of them are going to get to go to the national tournament.  Outright lunacy. 

Anxious to see who ends up getting the nod for *1 seed between Anson DeWar of Muhlenberg & Charlie Grygas of SUNY-Oswego.  DeWar was a Mideast Regional runner-up last year & 8th in the D3 nation.  Grygas on the other hand has Mideast Regional finishes of 3rd-2nd-1st, as he finished 4th in the D3 nation last year.  He'll look to become a rare four time NCAA DIII qualifier, as both will look to earn AA #2 in La Crosse, Wisconsin in a couple of weeks.  Graygas for the record owns a 13-3 major decision over James Romaine of TCNJ & he's defeated Ithaca's Jackson Gray by scores of 8-5, 15-3 & 10-6. 

As to Gray, with 4th & 8th place Mideast Regional finishes, he has yet to make it to the national tournament, but he's looking to change that.  Going for him is the fact that by 5-1 & 4-1 decisions, he's defeated Romaine twice this year. 

Who's being overlooked here?  The answer to that question is Ganon Smith of Elizabethtown.  3rd in the Mideast Regional last season, he's 15-1 on the year.  As to why he's outside of the rankings right now? Don't know.  What I do know is that he's a threat to anyone he steps on the mat with, and U.R. as he may be, he remains a solid contender for qualification. 

The other note to take on this weight class, is that it'll be susceptible for upsets.  Anson DeWar has already had a couple this season.  Who are our darkhorses?  Well, two of them I would say would be Chris Roybal of Johns Hopkins who upset Dewar 10-5 earlier this season, and another would be Sean Cowan of Ursinus. 

UPDATE - Received the unfortunate news the DeWar is out with injury

184 lbs 

Four solid talents & again only three spots that will take you to the NCAA DIII tournament in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  

3rd in last year's Mideast Regional, Jack Ryan of SUNY-Oneonta is currently 25-1 & will most likely be our *1 seed.  He owns a 5-3 decision over Will Davis of Elizabethtown.  Sean Malenfant who was 5th at last year's Mideast Regional has been having himself one heck of a season.  25-2 on the season, he's thus far won titles at the New Standard Invitational, the Summa Invite & the AMCC.  He could very well end up duking it out with Davis in the semi-finals.  The last the two met, Malenfant squeaked by with a 8-6 s.v. 

Here to spoil plans for at least one of these qualifier candidates will be Isaac Cory of Penn Tech.  Despite being unranked he has a record of 11-1 & he finished in 2nd place here last year. 

197 lbs 

An interesting weight class as there isn't a returning qualifier within the bracket.  Everyone who qualifies out of 197 lbs here in the Mideast Regional, will be going to the NCAA DIII championships for the first time.  

6th & 4th in the last two Mideast Regionals, Jaedyn Harris of McDaniel has made vast improvements this season & currently holds a 20-3 record.  He'll contend with Buffalo transfer Braydon Vandenberg who now competes for St. John Fisher, looking to become yet another qualifier for the newly restored Cardinals.  Thus far this season, Harris owns a 5-3 victory over Vandenberg. 

As to our plausible bronze medalist?  My pick here is Keevon Berry of Centenary.  7th & 5th thus far in the Mideast Regional, he has 19 victories on the season. 


Semi-finals, finals & especially consolation finals, I think we're gonna have all out wars as we take a look at our heaviest artillery.  Although Peter Wersinger of TCNJ won the Mideast Regional title last season & Dylan Waller finished in 4th place, it is Waller who is currently eight spots ahead of Wersinger in the rankings. Wersinger has a 3-2 victory over Waller.   While these two are the favorites to make the finals, it is not etched in stone.  Leo Rabinovich of SUNY-Cortland is 11-1 & his only loss on the season was a nail-biting 5-4 decision to Waller.   Another tough candidate here is Jeremy Mazella of Ithaca.  A 7-1 loss to Wersinger earlier this season, more recently he took him into sudden victory, dropping an 8-5 match.   Against one another, Rabinovich owns a 3-1 decision. 

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, Anson Dewar will not be wreslting due to injury. On to next year for him