Wayne State wrestlers qualify for national tournament

Liz Viall, Adviser

Six Wildcat wrestlers have qualified for the national tournament next week in Richardson, Texas, as the team finished second in the NCWA Southwest Conference National Qualifying Tournament Feb. 29.

Ethan Fitzler at 157 and Tyson Cisneros at 235 both came out top winners at the qualifying meet. Fitzler is now a four times national qualifier.

Hunter Weiss at 149 was runner up in his weight class and has now also qualified for nationals for the fourth time.

Ryan Zoucha at 133 and Dalton Sobotka at 197 both took third place to qualify. Marcos Osoria at 141 will hold a wildcard to the national meet.

Fitzler, Weiss and Cisneros are seniors.

Fitzler said the team did very well and “wrestled up to their seeds” as expected.

“We’re continuing to do our conditioning and trust in our technique and work ethic,” he said. “We will be working hard to put our wrestlers up on the podium.” He said he expects his first match at nationals will not be against a SW conference opponent.

Weiss said the qualifiers are looking to get up on the podium at nationals. “Friday is the ‘blood round.’ If you make it to Saturday (in the tourney) you’re an All-American,” Weiss said.

Losing in that ‘blood round’ as he did last year, can be disappointing. “We continue to work hard in the practice room and are seeing results at the conferences,” Weiss said.

Overall, the Wildcats were second with 88.5 points behind Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas, with 208.5. Texas A&M followed in third place with 79 competition points.

“Hard work paid off,” Coach Greg Vander Weil said. “We were hoping to qualify five or six and they were able to achieve that. We pinned a lot of people, too, and we got bonus points for that.”

Vander Weil said WSC was by far the smallest of the nine schools represented at the event. He said the winning team from Schreiner University is coached by four paid-professional staff and also offers wrestling scholarships. Richland Community College, which hosted the event, finished fifth in the tournament. Richland has about 21,000 students.

“We did let the boys down South know we know how to wrestle,” Vander Weil said.

The NCWA National Wrestling Championships are scheduled for March 12-14 in Allen, Texas.