No. 17 Ithaca Ties for NCAA Mideast Regional Team Title, Qualifies Six for NCAA Championships
March 02, 2020


ITHACA, N.Y. – The 17th-ranked Ithaca College wrestling team was back on the mats inside the Athletics and Events Center Glazer Arena on Sunday for the second and final day of the 2020 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships. It was a memorable day for the Bombers, who not only qualified six wrestlers for the NCAA Championships – set to be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on March 13-14 – but also captured a share of the Mideast Regional Team Title in one of the most thrilling conclusions to a regional meet in recent memory.

The Bombers brought home some serious hardware during the final day of action. Entering the day with nine grapplers still in contention for berths to NCAA Nationals, the Bombers had six extend their seasons to mid-March, while all nine earned Top-8 placement and a spot on the podium. Additionally, first-year 133-pounder Travis Jones took home some additional mantle pieces, as he not only brought home an individual title, but also was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the meet after a thrilling victory by fall in his final bout of the day. The IC coaching staff also was recognized, as the assistant coaches brought home the Assistant Coaching Staff of the Year Award, while head coach Marty Nichols '90 was selected the Regional Coach of the Year at the Tournament Award.

Headlining the day for Ithaca were two individual regional champions. Travis Jones continued his domination of the 133-pound bracket, securing two-more bonus point wins to capture the crown at 133-pounds. Sophomore 184-pounder Eze Chukwuezi also put together a thrilling finish with a fall in his final bout of the day to earn his first career individual regional title as well. Every extra point was crucial, as the Bombers ended the day deadlocked with No. 9 TCNJ for first-place in team standings.

Three Bombers netted Runner-Up finishes on the afternoon. Senior 149-pounder Ben Brisman, redshirt-sophomore 157-pounder Sam Schneider and redshirt-senior 165-pounder Austin Whitney each placed second in their respective divisions. For Brisman, it is the third straight year that he punched a ticket to NCAA Nationals, while Schneider and Whitney are both set for their second career trips to the year's final tournament. Sophomore 125-pounder Logan Ninos was Ithaca's final wrestler to earn a trip to Cedar Rapids, capping the day in style with a dominant shutout win in his third-place bout to capture the region's final bid at the weight.

Ithaca's other place-finishers on the day were senior 141-pounder Tito Colom, junior 174-pounder Jordan Wallace, and senior heavyweight Dalton Elias. Colom and Elias entered the day in the wrestle-back competition and finished the tournament in sixth and seventh, respectively. Wallace had a tough outing on Sunday after a dominant start to the NCAA Regionals on Saturday. He suffered late heartbreakers in both of his wrestled-bouts, before taking a medical forfeit in the fifth-place bout to settle for sixth. Colom and Elias both delivered clutch wrestle-back wins during the competition today. Elias' final win in the seventh-place bout ultimately proved the most clutch, nudging IC to a short-lived three-point advantage in the team standings, before TCNJ tied it right at the death with a pin by Lions' heavyweight Tom Marretta with just 12-seconds remaining in the final bout of the tournament. The result brought both teams to level terms.

The third-place race was also competitive with just one point separating No. 23 Brockport and No. 18 RIT for the final team trophy presented on the day. Brockport finished three weight-class champions, as 125-pounder Matt Caccamise, 141-pounder Eli Sims and heavyweight Richard Knapp each brought home individual titles. RIT was lead by two individual champions, as 157-pounder Kaidon Winters and 165-pounder Dempsey King emerged from the day with titles for the Tigers.