Monarchs Earn School Record Seventh Bid to 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships

March 07, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 7, 2012

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NORFOLK, Va. – The No. 24 Old Dominion University Wrestling set a school record on Wednesday when a seventh Monarch wrestler was awarded a bid to the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., on March 15-17.

Redshirt freshman Jerome Robinson was awarded an at-large bid at 125 pounds to give ODU seven wrestlers qualifying for the NCAA Wrestling Championships, passing the previous school record of six set back in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

“Qualifying seven guys for the NCAA Championships is an important step for this program,” said head coach Steve Martin. “We are in elite company with top schools in the country in terms of how many guys we had qualify. We are extremely excited that Robinson got an at-large bid. Five of our seven guys are underclassmen and have several years left in our program and that sends a big message to our alumni, our administration and our recruits that this program is headed in a positive direction.”

Robinson joins sophomore Scott Festejo (133), sophomore Justin LaValle (141), redshirt sophomore John Nicholson (157), sophomore Tristan Warner (165), senior Te Edwards (174) and senior Joe Budi (197) who automatically qualified at the 2012 CAA Championships at Binghamton University on March 3.

Edwards (21-3) led the Monarchs by earning one of the top-12 seeds at this year’s tournament at 174 pounds. The senior and the lone ODU wrestler with NCAA Championship experience, is seeded at No. 10 and will face Indiana's Ryan LeBlanc (19-14).

At 197 pounds, Budi (22-12) will await the winner of Nebraska’s James Nakashima (19-9) and The Citadel’s Kelby Smith (34-7) while Warner (27-14) is set to face Michigan’s Daniel Yates (23-8) in first round action at 165 pounds.

Moving to the lower weight classes, Robinson (17-9) takes on fourth-seeded Jesse Delgado (30-6) of Illinois in the first round at 125 pounds while at 133 pounds, Festejo (23-14) squares off against Wyoming’s Zach Zehner (28-11).

LaValle (25-14) meets 11th-seeded Matthew Mariacher (23-7) of American at 141 pounds and Nicholson (26-6) will battle top-seeded Kyle Drake (30-0) from Cornell at 157 pounds.

The opening round of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships begins at 10 a.m. (ET) on Thursday, March 15 from the Scottrade Center. 

2012 NCAA qualifiers