ADA, Ohio – Freshman 125-pounder Josh Hall (Galloway, Ohio/Bishop Ready) posted a 3-2 record on his way to a fourth-place individual finish as the Case Western Reserve University wrestling team tied for 15th place at the 2013 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championship on Saturday at Ohio Northern University's King Horn Center.
With new alignment, the event represented one of the most diverse geographic regions. Elizabethtown College (Pa.) claimed the team title with 101 points, while the University of Mount Union was second with 93 points. SUNY-Brockport was third with 83.5 points, Heidelberg University was fourth, and Messiah College (Pa.) along with the host Polar Bears tied for fifth with 73 points.
Beginning this year, the NCAA adopted a new format for the qualification to the Division III Championship. There are six regionals across the country, and the top-three finishers in each weight class advance to the championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa held at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on March 15-16. A total of 180 wrestlers will compete at the championships, 10 more than the old format that consisted of seven automatic-qualifying conferences and two NCAA-sponsored regionals that advanced 170 wrestlers to the championship round.
Hall, the No. 6 seed in the 16-wrestler bracket, began his day with a 4-2 decision over Kurt Rodriguez from Messiah then advanced to the championship semifinals with a pin at the 1:07 mark versus third-seeded Delian Schneider from Heidelberg. In the semifinals, the first-year Spartan squared off against No. 2 seed Jacob Spearman from Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.), who owned a 28-4 record headed into the match, and Hall fell by a 7-2 count to drop into the consolation semis.
In that match, Hall, the reigning University Athletic Association Rookie of the Year and 125 pound conference weight class champion, sqaured off with No. 8 seed Kyle McNulty from Elizabethtown, and despite a comeback attempt in the final minute by McNulty, Hall hung on for the 9-7 decision. In the final with a national bid on the line, Hall was forced to retire due to an injury default.
His performance gave Hall an overall record of 18-11 this season.
Additionally for Case, Spartan freshman 141-pounder Xander Straughter (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) produced a strong showing. Following an early loss versus No. 6 seed Bryant Roby of Mount Union, Straughter headed to the consolation bracket and notched his first victory versus Ben Barnhart-Sullivan of Muskingum University via a 9-1 major decision. However, Straughter saw his initial collegiate season end via an 11-0 major decision to No. 5 seed Chuck Glatz of York College (Pa.).