By John Murphy CSC SID
Quentrevion Campbell led the Chadron State wrestling team at the NCAA Super Region VI Championships with a first place finish, while Keegan Gehlhausen and Mason Watt placed second.
The event, which was held in Chadron at the Chicoine Center, sends the top three placers in each weight class to the NCAA Championships. The championship will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 10 & 11.
“We had a great day,” CSC Head Wrestling Coach Brett Hunter said. “This regional is arguably the toughest in the nation. Anytime you get guys qualified to the NCAA tournament is a success.”
Campbell, the 133 pound champion and #2 ranked wrestler in the nation, started his day off with a 10-1 major decision over Andres Jiron from New Mexico Highlands in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals he defeated Weston Diblasi of Colorado School of Mines with a 5-4 decision.
The win over Diblasi paired him with Collin Metzgar of Colorado Mesa in the finals. Metzgar, the #9 ranked 133 pounder in the nation, fell to Campbell 4-3 on a last second takedown two weeks earlier.
The regional championship was just as exciting as the matchup two weeks ago. In the final seconds of the third round, Campbell scored an escape and takedown to send the championship match to overtime.
In overtime, the junior from Tifton, Georgia, scored a takedown to earn the regional championship. Campbell is the first region champion for CSC since Wade French won back to back in 2019.
“Late in it, I got an escape and a takedown all in one motion and tied it up,” Campbell said. “I kept pushing him in overtime and ended up taking him down on a shot that I couldn’t finish earlier.”
Gehlhausen, the 184 pound runner up, opened his day up with a 5-4 decision in the quarterfinals over Hunter Tobiasson of Adams State. In the semis, he defeated Jason Bynarowicz of Colorado Mesa 5-3.
The redshirt freshman earned a matchup against the #1 ranked 184 pounder in the nation, Billy Higgins of University of Nebraska Kearney in the finals. Higgins, the 2022 third place finisher at the NCAA Championships, defeated Gehlhausen with a 19-2 tech fall.
Watt, a senior from Broomfield, Colorado, made it to the finals after a decision and two pins. In the first round, Zach Schraeder of Western Colorado suffered a 4-0 decision to Watt. Watt pinned Adam Alvarenga of Adams State in 1:08 in the quarterfinals and pinned Anthony Caldwell of Fort Hays in 2:05 in the semis.
Like Gehlhausen, Watt’s opponent in the finals was from Nebraska Kearney and the #1 ranked wrestler in the nation in their respective weight class. Lee Herrington, the 2022 NCAA Championships fifth place finisher, defeated Watt with a 3-2 decision.
“Getting three guys through is a big step in the right direction,” Hunter said. “I am so proud of my guys and our entire program.
The three national qualifiers for Chadron State weren’t the only Eagle wrestlers to find the podium.
Quade Smith, CSC’s 125 pound wrestler, defeated Rhys Sellers from New Mexico Highlands with a pin in 1:20 in the quarterfinals. In the semis, Smith fell to the eventual champion, Brendon Garcia of Adams State, a 5-3 decision. Garcia is the #3 ranked 125 pounder in the nation.
Smith, a sophomore from Layton Utah, answered the defeat with a 12-7 decision over Zach Wright of San Francisco State. The victory earned him a matchup with Dawson Collins of Colorado Mesa in the heartbreak round.
Collins, the #6 ranked wrestler in the nation, defeated Smith with a 12-7 decision, earning Smith a fourth-place finish.
CSC’s lone national qualifier in 2022, Ethan Leake, finished fifth in the 141-pound bracket. Leake defeated Randy McDonald of Simon Fraser with a 7-5 decision in the quarterfinals. In the semis, Colorado School of Mine’s Grayston DiBlasi scored a late escape and defeated Leake with a 7-6 decision.
The senior from Clovis, California was defeated by Nick James of Nebraska Kearney in the third-round consolation match. James, the #5 ranked 141 pounder in the nation, won with a 9-5 decision. Leake finished his day with an 8-1 decision over Alex Castaneda from Colorado Mesa.
Brandon Paredes at 149 pounds, Brody Lamb at 157, Preston Renner at 165 and Bryan Zutavern at 197 pounds all won one match on the day, helping CSC earn a sixth-place team finish with 72 points.
Adams State, the #8 ranked team in the nation, won the title with 114 points. The #3 ranked team in the nation, Nebraska Kearney, was second with 110 team points and Colorado Mesa, the 12th ranked team in the nation, was third with 101.