Pitt-Johnstown wins 22nd regional championship

The Pitt-Johnstown wrestlers made the trip to Mercyhurst University for Saturday's 2019 NCAA Division I Super Region I Tournament and came away with three individual champions, three runner-ups, and a total of seven national qualifiers to claim the program's 22nd regional championship and the first since 2016.

Brendan Howard (125 lbs.), Chris Eddins (149 lbs.), and Levi Niebauer (197 lbs.) all won individual titles for Head Coach Pat Pecora, the 2018-19 Super Region I coach of the Year. In addition, Joey Alessandro (141 lbs.), Corey Falleroni (157 lbs.), and Brock Biddle (184 lbs.) were runner-ups, and Devin Austin (165 lbs.) placed third to earn spots in the NCAA Division II National Championship tournament in Cleveland, Ohio on March 8 and 9.

Pitt-Johnstown claimed the team title with 141 points, 39 points better than second-place Kutztown's 102 points. Gannon (94 pts.), Mercyhurst (93.5 pts.), and Seton Hill (72 pts.) rounded out the top-5 in the 10-team tournament.

125 lbs. - Brendan Howard - Champion
Howard, ranked ninth nationally, won an 11-1 major decision over Shippensburg's Corbin Hopkins in the quarterfinals, before advancing to the finals with a 15-0 technical fall at 3:12 over Seton Hill's Derrick Chandler-Christie. Howard won his title by shutting out Jacob Dunlap (Gannon), 6-0, in the title bout.

149 lbs. - Chris Eddins - Champion
Eddins, the defending National Champion at 141 lbs. and current No. 1-ranked wrestler in the nation at 149 lbs., Pinned Joel Morth (American International) at 6:23 to start the tournament and reached the finals with a 17-2 technical fall in the second period over Mike Clark (Mercyhurst). Eddins then won a 13-1 major decision over Seton Hills Austin Shaw to become Pitt-Johnstown second individual champion.

197 lbs. - Levi Niebauer - Champion
Niebauer, also a two-time National Qualifier, defeated East Stroudsburg's Nicholas Klinoff, 8-1, and scored a 15-4 major decision over Seton Hill's Jody Crouse in the semifinals. Niebauer then claimed his first regional title and his third trip to nationals with a 7-3 decision over Millersville Colton Dull.

141 lbs. - Joey Alessandro - 2nd-Place
Alessandro, the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the country and top-seed at 141 lbs., cruised into the finals with a technical fall win over Anthony Wiggins (Millersville) and a 9-1 major decision over Aidan Burke (Mercyhurst) in the semifinals. In the title bout. LIU-Post's Joe Calderone pinned Alessandro at 6:04.

157 lbs. - Corey Falleroni - 2nd-Place
After pinning Eduardo Ramirez (LIU-Post) at 4:06 in the quarterfinals, Falleroni, now a two-time National Qualifier, advanced to the championship match at 157 lbs. with a 6-4 decision over Kevin Kinyua (Mercyhurst). In the title bout, Gannon's George McGuire held off Falleroni, 8-6.

184 lbs. - Brock Biddle - 2nd-Place
Biddle pinned Isaiah Collins (American International) at 1:58, the defeated Nathan Bowlen (Seton Hill), 6-4, in the semifinals to set up a title bout against Kutztown's No. 1-ranked Jeff Reimel. Reimel opened-up a 6-1 first period lead and went on for a 9-2 victory over Biddle.

165 lbs. - Devin Austin -3rd-Place
Austin, a two-time National Qualifier, defeated LIU-Post's Dan Arkow, 5-2, in the quarterfinals, but suffered a major decision loss to Logan Grass (Mercyhurst) in the semis. Austin bounced back with a 5-2 win over East Stroudsburg's in the consolation semifinals to reach the third-place match, before punching his third ticket to the National Tournament by defeating Kutztown's Connor Rogovich, 9-3.

133 lbs. - Matt Siszka - 4th-Place
After suffering a loss in the opening round, Siszka picked-up three straight decision wins to reach the third-place match. However, Millersville's Ryan McGuire held off Siszka, 3-2, to claim third national qualifying spot at 133 lbs.

174 lbs. - Steve Edwards - 4th-Place
Edwards, a 2018 National Qualifier, advanced to the semifinals with a major decision win over Anthony Williamson (Gannon), before suffering a 6-2 loss to Kutztown's Troy Warner. Edwards then won a 9-1 major decision over Mercyhurst's Trevor Johnson in the consolation semis, but Damon Greenwald used a third period take down to slip past Edwards, 4-3, in the third-place match.

285 lbs. - Tyler Oliver - 5th-Place
Oliver won his opening round match, the lost a 3-2 decision to Mercyhurst's to Jacob Robb. A major decision victory in the second round of the consolations and a pin over Cameron Kates (East Stroudsburg) at 1:36 in the third round of the consolations kept Oliver's hopes alive. However, David Wuestner got an overtime take down to send Oliver to the fifth-place match where shutout American International's Ray Sherwood, 4-0.

Team Scores
1 Pitt.-Johnstown 141.0
2 Kutztown 102.0
3 Gannon 94.0
4 Mercyhurst 93.5
5 Seton Hill 72.0
6 Millersville 65.5
7 LIU Post 52.5
8 East Stroudsburg 46.5
9 Shippensburg 29.0
10 American Int`l 23.5


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