CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. -- The Warhawks will send a group of six wrestlers to the NCAA Division III Championships set for March 14-15 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. UW-Whitewater's team total of 130 bested the competition by 22 points for their second consecutive regional title. Three Warhawks won their weight classes, two were runners-up and another took third in the NCAA Midwest Regional hosted by Wabash College Saturday to advance. The top three in each weight class advance to the national championships.
Jimmy Nehls (Downers Grove, IL/North) went 3-0 after a first round bye to win the 133 pound weight class. Nehls, the number two seed in the regional and ranked seventh in the NWCA, opened with a major decision over Stevens Point's Lance Fabry, 15-1. In his second match of the day, Nehls topped Miguel Venecia of Elmhurst 3-2 to advance to the championship. Nehls topped La Crosse's Dustin Weinmann 6-2 in the title bout to earn the team's first individual regional title of the day. He advances to nationals with a 22-5 record.
The next individual champ for Whitewater came in the 165 pound weight class. Cedric Gibson (Plainfield, IL/Plainfield North), the number one seed, won all three of his matches Saturday to improve to 22-5. He opened with a 9-3 decision over Logan Hermsen of Stevens Point followed by a 6-3 decision over Tyler Schneider of La Crosse. Gibson overpowered Wabash's Josh Sampson to win by major decision, 14-3, in the title bout to repeat as regional champ.
Top seeded Shane Siefert (Mundelein, IL/Carmel) notched his second straight regional title at 197 pounds after going 4-0 Saturday. He won three of his four bouts by fall, including the championship match. Siefert opened with a pin of Michael Conner (Trine) in 2:28 and stopped the clock in 1:58 with a pin over Mario Palmisano of Chicago in his second match of the day. A 5-0 decision over Mike Minske of La Crosse sent Siefert back to the championship. He recorded the fall in 2:31 over the number two seed, Elmhurst's Danny Balderas to improve to 37-4 this season and take the team lead in pins with 10 this season.
Matt Adcock (Bloomingdale, IL/Lake Park), the number two seed in the 141 pound weight class, was the regional runner-up Saturday. He opened with a pin of Wesley Cummings (Trine) in 2:22 followed by a 6-3 decision of James Spangler (Elmhurst). A 10-2 major decision over North Central's Andrew Rodawold sent Adcock into the title bout where he fell to top seeded Justin Holm of Olivet 5-3. Adcock is 26-9 this season heading into the final competition of the season.
Top seeded Anthony Edgren (New Lisbon/New Lisbon) was upset by the number two seed, Jacob Minske of La Crosse, 5-2 in the championship match at 285 pounds to finish second in the regional. Edgren won his first three matches of the day opening with a technical fall over Alma's Eric Mason. A 3-0 decision over Dustin Kult of Manchester was followed by a 5-3 overtime decision over Trine's Mackenzie Green to send Edgren into the title bout. Edgren is 28-7 this season and is ranked fifth in the NWCA.
Elroy Perkin (Greenfield/Whitnall) punched his ticket to nationals with a 16-0 technical fall in 5:46 over John Roycraft of Stevens Point to finish third in the 149 pound weight class. Edgren, the number three seed won by fall in 5:33 over Chicago's Jacob Smith to open Saturday. He followed with a major decision, 10-0 over North Central's Nathan Segal. Perkin fell to the number two seed, Gage Pederson of Olivet 7-4 in a semifinal matchup. He came back with an 8-0 major decision over Nick Bova (Wabash) to advance into the battle for third. Perkin will head to nationals with a 26-9 record after going 4-1 in the regional.
Zac Denny (Machesney Park, IL/Harlem) narrowly missed advancing to the national championships at 125 pounds. As the number two seed, Denny opened with a bye followed by a decision over Point's Ryan Osse, 7-2. Tommy Poynter (Wabash), the third seed, upset Denny in a semifinal match 12-6. Denny advanced in the wrestleback to the battle for third but fell to fifth seed Nicolas Santos (North Central) 3-2. Denny ends the season 29-14.
Andrew Pettit (Hoffman Estates, IL/Hoffman Estates) and Ryan Aprahamian (Mukwonago/Mukwonago) each went 2-2 Saturday to finish fifth in the 174 and 184 pound weight classes respectively. Cam Loomis (River Falls/River Falls) represented UW-Whitewater in the 157 pound weight class going 0-2 in the regional tournament.
Team scores were: UW-W 130, UW-La Crosse 108, Wabash 106, Olivet 97.5, Elmhurst 74.5, UW-Stevens Point 65.5, North Central 57, Wheaton 55, Alma 40, Trine 27, Chicago 14 and Manchester 5.