BELLEVILLE — The McKendree University wrestling team had all 11 individuals qualify for the National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championship on its way to claiming the NCWA Great Lakes Regional Championship.
The Bearcats will travel to Allen, Texas on March 14-16 to compete at the NCWA National Championship held at the Allen Event Center.
McKendree had five claim individual championships, two runners-up, and four third-place finishes at the regional qualifier. Junior's Brenden Murphy and Isaiah Gonzalez, and sophomore's Luis Alba, Julian Smith and Ross Janney all earned first-place finishes.
Murphy, the defending NCWA champion at 133 pounds, improved to 35-6 on the season with two pins and a major decision to claim the 133-pound regional championship. Murphy pinned Cooper Powell of Lindenwood University-Belleville in the championship match in 1:04.
Gonzalez improved to 21-9 overall on the season after winning three matches to win the 174-pound title. Gonzalez edged Larry Lanier of Lindenwood University-Belleville in a 2-1 decision in the final match.
Alba pinned all three of his opponents on his way to the 184-pound championship. Alba, an NCWA All-American at 174 pounds last season, improved to 24-12 on the season and defeated David Cox of Lindenwood-Belleville by pin in the championship match.
Smith improved to 28-6 overall following two decision victories to claim the 197-pound championship. Smith defeated Carl Worthy of Grand Valley State University, 13-6, to win the title.
Janney didn't allow a point in two victories on his way to a first-place finish at heavyweight. Janney, now 32-10 overall, defeated William Lamping of University of Michigan by decision, 4-0, in the championship match.
Junior Devin Patterson and sophomore Nick Haferkamp both finished as runner's-up in their respective weight classes. Patterson dropped a 5-2 decision in the championship match at 149 pounds to Jesse Friese of Lindenwood-Belleville, while Haferkamp lost to Austin Geerlings of Grand Valley State University by decision, 7-4, in the championship match at 165 pounds.
Sophomore Dylon Viglasky (Belleville West), freshman Steven Bradtmueller, junior Francisco Ruiz, and senior Zac Weber (Belleville East) all finished in third place in their respective weight classes at the tournament. Viglasky finished with a 4-1 record at 125 pounds, while Bradtmueller was 3-1 at 141 pounds. Ruiz finished with a record of 5-1 at 157 pounds and Weber was 1-1 at 235 pounds.