ODU Ties School Record with Six Wrestlers Qualifying for NCAA Tournament

March 03, 2012
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 3, 2012

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VESTAL, N.Y. - The No. 24 Old Dominion University Wrestling team tied the school record by qualifying six wrestlers for the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at the 2012 CAA Championships at the Events Center hosted by Binghamton University.

Capturing titles for the Monarchs were sophomore Scott Festejo at 133 pounds and senior Te Edwards at 174 pounds while sophomore Justin LaValle at 141 pounds, redshirt sophomore John Nicholson at 157 pounds, sophomore Tristan Warner at 165 pounds and senior Joe Budi at 197 pounds also punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo., on March 15-17.

“I thought our guys wrestled extremely tough throughout the tournament,” said head coach Steve Martin. “Qualifying six wrestlers for the NCAA Tournament was a goal of ours coming into the season and we also have an opportunity this week for a possible seventh bid.  With such a young team, it was quite an accomplishment to tie the school record set in 2008 and 2009 with six NCAA qualifiers. We wrestled very well and had several thrilling comebacks on Saturday. We realize we will be underdogs heading to St. Louis but the guys are looking forward to the opportunity to pull some upsets and have some fun.”

Festejo pulled a big upset in semifinal action when he pinned top-seeded Jimmy Morris for Rider and then went on to win a thrilling 4-3 match over Hofstra's Jamie Franco in the final to claim to CAA title and automatic bid at 133 pounds. Top-seeded Edwards took care of Drexel's Alex Rinaldi in semifinal action, 10-7, before disposing of Boston's Czarnecki in the 174-pound title match, 6-2, to punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships.

After advancing to the finals, both LaValle (141) and Nicholson (157) were unable to come away with titles and instead found themselves batting for the remaining spots in their weight classes to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. LaValle, who upset second-seeded Frank Cimato of Drexel in a 6-5 thriller to make it to the final, eventually fell in a close 3-1 battle to top-seed Luke Vaith, 3-1. He earned his NCAA spot when he downed Mason's Dennis Herndon, 5-3. Nicholson took care of Boston's Nick Tourville in his opener, 13-8, before dominating third-seeded Austin Sommer of Drexel, 14-5, to make it the finals where he was pinned by top-seeded Justin Lister of Binghamton. In the true second match with the NCAA bid on the line, he took care of Rider's Ramon Santiago, 5-3.

In one of the most thrilling matches of the entire day, fourth-seeded Warner stunned top-seeded Joe Booth of Drexel in the second overtime tiebreaker, 3-1, after disposing of Mason's Ty Knepp in the opener at 165 pounds. In the final, Warner was downed by second-seeded Paul Gillespie of Hofstra, 4-1, but qualified for the NCAA Championships in the process in a stacked weight class. In another loaded weight class, Budi was involved in several thrillers at 197. He fell in a heartbreaker to top-seed Bagna Tovuujav of Mason in the first overtime tiebreaker, 3-1, but battled back against Rider's Donald McNeil to win 5-3 and then put together a comeback win over Binghamton's Cody Reed in the first overtime tiebreaker, 7-5, in the third place match to lift the Monarch to an NCAA bid.

Jerome Robinson upset fourth-seeded Derek Steeley of Binghamton at 125 pounds, 5-2, before falling to top-seeded Steve Bonanno of Hofstra, 8-0. The redshirt freshman then downed the third-seeded Chuck Zifloft of Rider and Chris McGinley of Boston to take third place and now awaits a possible at-large birth to the NCAA Tournament when the brackets are unveiled next week.

Redshirt junior Brennan Brumley (149) and redshirt sophomore Billy Curling (184) each placed fourth in their respective weight classes while redshirt freshman Matt Tourdot (285) also competed for ODU.

The Monarchs, who had the fewest amount of opportunities to score team points in the tournament due to six Monarchs being issued byes in the quarterfinal round, finished in third place with 68.5 points in the event after advancing nine wrestlers into the semifinal round. No. 23 Hofstra won the event with 80.5 points and narrowly edge host No. 19 Binghamton who came in second with 78.5 points. The Bearcasts’ Donnie Vinson (149) was named the CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler.

2012 CAA Championships Agate (ODU)
125 pounds
Jerome Robinson (ODU) dec. #4 Derek Steeley (Binghamton), 5-2
#1 Steve Bonanno (Hofstra) major dec. Jerome Robinson (ODU), 8-0
Jerome Robinson (ODU) dec. #3 Chuck Zeifloft (Rider), 6-1
Jerome Robinson (ODU) dec. Chris McGinley (Boston), 3-0
Jerome Robinson finishes in third place

133 pounds

#4 Scott Festejo (ODU) WBF #1 Jimmy Morris (Rider), 3:04
#4 Scott Festejo (ODU) dec. #3 Jamie Franco (Hofstra), 4-3
Scott Festejo wins the CAA title and earns automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament

141 pounds
#3 Justin LaValle (ODU) dec. #2 Frank Cimato (Drexel), 6-5
#1 Luke Vaith (Hofstra) dec. #3 Justin LaValle (ODU), 3-1
#3 Justin LaValle (ODU) dec. Dennis Herndon (GMU), 5-3
Justin LaValle finishes in second place and earns bid to the NCAA Tournament

149 pounds
#1 Donnie Vinson (Binghamton) tech fall #4 Brennan Brumley (ODU), 15-0, 4:00
#4 Brennan Brumley (ODU) dec. Shane Fenningham (Drexel), 2-1
#3 Zac Cibula (Rider) dec. #4 Brennan Brumley (ODU), 8-3
Brennan Brumley finishes in fourth place

157 pounds
#2 John Nicholson (ODU) dec. Nick Tourville (Boston), 13-8
#2 John Nicholson (ODU) major dec. #3 Austin Sommer (Drexel), 14-5
#1 Justin Lister (Binghamton) WBF #2 John Nicholson (ODU), 1:32
#2 John Nicholson (ODU) dec. Ramon Santiago (Rider), 5-3
John Nicholson finishes in second place and earns bid to the NCAA Tournament

165 pounds
#4 Tristan Warner (ODU) dec. Ty Knepp (GMU), 5-1
#4 Tristan Warner (ODU) dec. #1 Joe Booth (Drexel), 3-1 tb2
#2 Paul Gillespie (Hofstra) dec. #4 Tristan Warner (ODU), 4-1
Tristan Warner finishes in second place and earns bid to the NCAA Tournament

174 pounds
#1 Te Edwards (ODU) dec. Alex Rinaldi (Drexel), 10-7
#1 Te Edwards (ODU) dec. #2 Kyle Czarnecki (Boston), 6-2
Te Edwards wins the CAA title and earns automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament

184 pounds
#1 Ben Clymer (Hofstra) dec. #4 Billy Curling (ODU), 4-0
#4 Billy Curling (ODU) dec. #3 Clint Morrison (Rider), 2-0
Hunter Meys (Boston) dec. #4 Billy Curling (ODU), 3-2
Billy Curling finishes in fourth place

197 pounds
#1 Bagna Tovuujav (GMU) dec. #4 Joe Budi (ODU), 3-1 tb1
#4 Joe Budi (ODU) dec. Donald McNeil (Rider), 5-3
#4 Joe Budi (ODU) dec. Cody Reed (Binghamton), 7-5 tb1
Joe Budi finishes in third place and earns bid to the NCAA Tournament

#1 Kyle Frey (Drexel) dec. Matt Tourdot (ODU), 3-2
Matt Tourdot (ODU) dec. Evan Craig (Rider), 6-3
#3 Kevin Innis (Boston) dec. Matt Tourdot (ODU), 10-6