ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – Derek Arnold is headed back to the NCAA championships.
The Ursinus senior wrestler punched his national ticket and then some on Saturday, toughing out a pair of one-point decisions to claim the 157-pound title at the NCAA East Regional, his third consecutive regional crown. The first three-time regional champion in program history, Arnold will travel to La Crosse, Wisconsin for the national tournament from March 10-11.
Host Ferrum College claimed the team title with 135.5 points, with NYU (106.5) in second and Stevens (104.5) in third. Delaware Valley (81.0) was fourth, Centenary (80.0) fifth, and Ursinus (78.5) sixth.
Arnold's morning started with a 3-2 victory over NYU's Raymond Jazikoff, who held a 2-0 lead after an early takedown. Arnold halved the deficit with an escape, then used a second-period reversal and survived a scoreless third frame to advance to the title bout. The only point in the championship match came on Arnold's escape with 1:32 left in the second period, and the Bears' star held on to add another regional championship to his resume.
Arnold, who won regional titles at 149 in each of the previous two years, will be the Bears' lone representative at nationals, but several others were on the doorstep of a bid. Senior Alexander Kramer was the closest, twice suffering overtime setbacks when a victory would have clinched a spot. Kramer made it to the third-place match at 149, but with a spot in the NCAA championship on the line, he suffered a 3-1 overtime loss on a takedown by Centenary's Christopher Muce in overtime. Kramer came within a whisker of locking up a berth in his semifinal match, when Ferrum's Collin Saunders used an overtime escape to seal a 4-3 decision. Kramer finished his spectacular campaign with a mark of 41-7.
Juniors Christopher Tan (125) and Cody Richmond (184) and senior Matan Peleg (285) all placed fifth after losses in the consolation semifinals. Tan was defeated 12-1 by Ferrum's Zachary Beckner in the semifinals, then was pinned by NYU's Jacob Donato in the consolation semis. Tan rebounded to pin Greensboro's Matthew Insogna in the fifth-place bout, closing his season with a record of 23-5.
Richmond dropped a 4-1 to NYU's Blaise Benderoth in the main draw semifinals, then lost 3-0 to Ferrum's Adam Bresson in the consolations. He posted a 4-1 victory over Delaware Valley's Eliias Vega to claim fifth place.
Peleg prevailed in his first consolation match of the morning, taking a 5-3 decision over Centenary's Anthony Colabello. The heavyweight saw his NCAA hopes end with a 6-2 loss to Ferrum's Tate Dulany in the consolation semifinals, but finished strong with a 5-1 victory over Washington and Lee's Matthew Kaminer, who had defeated Peleg in the Centennial Conference semifinals. Peleg finished his senior season with a record of 34-8.
Three Bears were eliminated in the third round of the consolation bracket. Freshman James Harkness (133) was on the short end of a sudden victory result against Gettysburg's Noah Malamut, closing his rookie season at 17-8. Sophomore Jarret DiGiantomasso (13-8) lost a 5-1 decision to Stevens' Colin Navickas at 165, and senior Corey Markovitch (21-14) ended his career with a 7-3 defeat at the hands of Johns Hopkins' Jared Forman in the rubber match between the two.
2017 NCAA Div. III Wrestling East Regional 157-lb champion Derek Arnold