Calkins, King and Winters to represent RIT at 2019 NCAA Division III Championship
March 05, 2019


ROCHESTER, NY – Senior Connor Calkins (Almond, NY/Alfred-Almond), junior Dempsey King (New Hartford, NY/New Hartford) and sophomore Kaidon Winters (Athens, PA/Athens Area) of the No. 19 RIT wrestling team will represent the university at the 2019 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championship on March 8-9 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Va. Ferrum College will serve as the host.

Session I begins on Friday at 11 a.m. with preliminary rounds one and two, along with consolation first round matches. At 6 p.m. Friday, Session II takes place with the championship quarterfinal matches and consolation second and third round bouts. On Saturday, Session III starts at 10 a.m. EST, with the championship semifinals, consolation quarterfinals, semifinals, and matches for third, fifth, and seventh place. Championship finals wrap up at 7 p.m. Saturday, with awards to follow.

A total of 180 participants will compete in the championships. Student-athletes qualified for the championship by placing top-three in their respective weight classes at one of the six NCAA regional tournaments held on Feb. 22, 23 and 24. RIT competed in the Mideast Regional, placing fourth overall out of 19 teams.

All three student-athletes will be making their second NCAA Championship appearance. It is the third consecutive year that RIT is sending three student-athletes to the national tournament. RIT won a school record 12 dual matches during the 2018-19 regular season.

Calkins, a heavyweight, advanced to the national tournament for the second consecutive season after placing third at the 2019 Mideast Regional on Feb. 23-24. He enters the national tournament with an overall record of 26-7 this season with eight wins by technical fall and five more by pin. Calkins will face No. 4 seed Konrad Ernst of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the opening round Friday.

King is the number seven seed at 165 lbs. and will face Nick Remke of Coast Guard in the opening round Friday. King, who also appeared in the national tournament in 2017, qualified for the 2019 event after finishing second at the 2019 NCAA Mideast Regional. The RIT Male Athlete of the Week on Jan. 2 and ECWC Co-Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 7, King won the individual title at the Citrus Open, defeating a Division II standout along the way. King is 24-5 in 2018-19 with six pins. He enters the weekend 74-22 in three seasons at the university.

Winters qualified for the NCAA Championship after winning his weight class at the 2019 NCAA Mideast Regional. He is currently ranked third nationally at 157 lbs. and fifth overall among all Division III wrestlers in NCAA's Most Dominant Wrestler standings. He will face Dylan Dwyer of New York University in the opening round Friday.

Winters is in the midst of a tremendous 2018-19 season with a 31-0 record to go along with 17 pins. He won individual titles at the Ithaca Invitational, RIT Invitational and Citrus Open. In addition, Winters was named the Tony Wallace Award winner as Most Outstanding Wrestler of the 2018 RIT Invitational. Winters is a two-time ECWC Wrestler of the Week and was the RIT Male Athlete of the Week on Dec. 3.

Winters, who competed at the 2018 NCAA Championship, tied a single-season program record for wins (42) and broke Matt Hamill's school record with 22 pins in 2017-18. He is 73-10 in two seasons, with 39 victories coming by pin.

RIT will look to surpass its all-time high team score of 28.5 points at nationals, set in 1979-80 and earn its best-ever finish (T-8th – 1997-98). The Tigers have had 16 different All-Americans in program history, including national champions Darrell Leslie in 1983 and Hamill (1997, 1998 and 1999). Brad Mayville and Tory Cain were RIT's most recent All-Americans, both earning the prestigious honor in 2015.

Ticket prices range from $10-15 per session or $43-55 for the entire four-session event.