By JAMIE BAKER
The University of Findlay wrestling team will be competing for spots in the NCAA tournament this weekend as the Roughnecks travel to Ashland’s Kates Gymnasium on Saturday and Sunday for the NCAA Division II Super Regional Tournament.
Last year’s postseason performance by the Roughnecks will be tough to match.
Findlay was second in the regional tournament behind Central Oklahoma and sent six wrestlers to the NCAA national tournament. Once at nationals in Pueblo, Colo., Findlay wrestled its way to a third-place finish as UF head coach Shawn Nelson was named the Division II National Coach of the Year.
The Roughnecks, the No. 9 team in the latest NCAA Division II team rankings, will hit the mat in Ashland with three returning All-Americans and a pair of wrestlers with previous NCAA tournament experience in the lineup.
Senior Mason True and junior Adam Walters, both returning NCAA runners-up, will be the UF wrestlers to watch along with returning All-American Ben Sergent.
Walters has had a terrific season for the Roughnecks and is ranked second in the country in the 184-pound weight class with a 22-1 record.
True, an Arcadia product and defending regional champion, has had an up-and-down season. He’s 26-18 and will compete at 165 pounds. While not ranked nationally, True is ranked third in the region.
Sergent also won a regional title for the Roughnecks last season. The UF junior is ranked eighth nationally in the 125-pound weight class with a 23-8 record.
Senior Andrew Tumlin was a match away from All-American honors last season at heavyweight. He is ranked seventh in the country and has a 26-9 record entering this weekend. Senior 149-pounder Jan Ulinksi (15-18) qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2010.
Sophomore Joey White (28-12) will compete at 133 pounds, junior Ashton Brown (8-22) will man the 197-pound weight class and freshmen Nick Goebel (11-10), an Elmwood grad, and Jordan Cowell (22-17) will complete the UF lineup at 141 and 157 pounds, respectively.
The Roughnecks are one of four top-20 teams in the field. Notre Dame College and Central Oklahoma are ranked second and third, respectively, behind St. Cloud State. Findlay (No. 9) and Ashland (No. 15) are the other ranked teams.
Other teams in the regional field include Belmont Abbey, Central Missouri, King, Limestone, Tiffin and Truman State.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class earn a trip to the NCAA Division II national tournament scheduled for March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.
By JAMIE BAKER