Etzel And Spearman Prepared For NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships
WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Washington & Jefferson College will have two representatives at this weekend’s NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Junior Josh Etzel (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) will compete in the 157-pound bracket, while freshman Jacob Spearman (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) takes on the 125-pound competition.
Both wrestlers earned spots in the NCAA championship field by placing in the top three at March 2nd’s NCAA Mideast Regional in Ada, Ohio. Spearman was the runner-up, while Etzel bounced back from a semifinal loss to grab third place.
Etzel owns a 34-4 record heading into the national tournament and needs three victories to set the school’s single-season win record. Only Kevin DeJuliis ’03 and Taylor Potts ’12 produced more single-season victories when both racked up 36.
He will enter this weekend with a 65-10 career record with nine falls. Etzel is making his second-straight trip the national championship tournament after competing in the 141-pound bracket a year ago. He lost his opening NCAA match by fall (3:26) and was upended 11-6 in the consolation bracket.
Etzel’s first match at this year’s tournament will be Friday against the winner of the Devin Biscaha (Springfield)-Reece Lefever (Wabash) match. Lefever (28-2) is the bracket’s No. 6 seed and the seventh-ranked wrestler according to D3wrestle.com. One of Lefever’s losses was to top-seeded Elias Larson of Trine, last year’s fourth-place finisher. Biscaha owns an 11-6 record.
Spearman (27-5 record) is the first W&J freshman to earn a spot in the national championship field since Aaron Gibbs competed in the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
Two of his losses have come to NCAA qualifiers, third-seeded Paul Bewak of Johns Hopkins (10-4 in championship match of Waynesburg Invitational) and eighth-seeded Matthias Elias II of SUNY-Brockport (4-3 in regional final).
Spearman will also have to wait to learn his first-round opponent as he will take on the winner of the match between second-seeded Nathaniel Giorgio of the Coast Guard Academy (20-5) and Christopher Donaldson of Ursinus (30-7). Giorgio took fourth place in the 125-pound bracket a year ago. Ithaca’s Ricardo Gomez is the top seed with a 22-2 record.
The Presidents’ last NCAA All-American was the 133-pound DeJuliis, the program’s all-time wins leader, in 2002. He opened with a victory over sixth-seeded Nathan Shearer of Ohio Northern before falling to eventual champion Tom Hall of Ithaca. DeJuliis rallied back to claim seventh place with three wins in the consolation bracket, including a 4-3 triumph over Hunter’s Mario Villa in the seventh-place bout.
Etzel and Spearman are the Presidents’ first duo to compete at the national championships since 2003 when DeJuliis (133) and Byron Johnson '04 (141) qualified.
Wrestling begins at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena at noon (EDT) on Friday with the first and second rounds. Live video of all six mats is available on the NCAA website (http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule/2013/03/15), while real-time results are available at http://www.trackwrestling.com.
W&J is led by second-year Head Coach Tommy Prairie.