Old Dominion Finishes Second at CAA Tournament For Fourth Straight Year
March 7, 2009
CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Old Dominion posted 86.5 points and a second place finish for the fourth straight year as they trailed he Hofstra Pride by 20 points at the end of the 2009 CAA Wrestling Championships at Oscar Smith HS in Chesapeake, Virginia. ODU boasts five NCAA Automatic Qualifiers including three champs as sophomore James Nicholson (Des Moines, Iowa - 125 lbs), senior Ryan Williams (Mechanicsburg, Pa. - 141 lbs) and junior Chris Brown (Chesapeake, Va. - 165 lbs) all successfully defended their titles. They will be joined by Eric Decker (Wells Bridge, N.Y. - 174 lbs) and Jesse Strawn (Holton, Kansas - 197 lbs) as automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri on March 19-20.
The conference will send 20 automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Tournament in two weeks, including six from Hofstra, five from Old Dominion, four from Rider, two from George Mason and one each for Boston University, Binghamton and Drexel.
Old Dominion had three champs, tying Hofstra for the most in the conference. The five qualifiers is also second to only Hofstra. Nicholson won a 7-3 decision over #2 seed Steve Bonanno (Hofstra), Williams pinned #2 seed Justin Accordino (Hofstra) in 1:50, and Brown won an 8-2 decision over #2 seed Ryan Patrovich (Hofstra), ranked #19 in the country.
In all, eight number one seeds won the title at their weight class, with only two upsets. The first was Most Outstanding Wrestler Bagna Tovuujav, who posted a sudden victory win over Hofstra's top seeded and 9th ranked senior, Alton Lucas in the finals. Hofstra's Paul Gillespie was another terrific story at the 2009 CAA Championships; as a six seed, Gillespie beat the number three, number two and the top ranked wrestler at his weight to win the 149-lb weight class.
Old Dominion junior Jesse Strawn also had an exciting day on the mats for the Monarchs, wrestling back in the consolation bracket. In his first match of the day, against Rider's Mike Miller, Strawn and Miller were tied with just ten seconds remaining in regulation when Strawn not only got the takedown, but got Miller on his back and scored a pin with just one second remaining. Strawn then had to face Hofstra's Joe Fagiano in the third/fourth place matchup and was trailing the whole match before reversing Fagiano with just seconds remaining to win by one, 5-4 and guarantee his second trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Kyle Hutter (Mokena, Ill. - 133 lbs) is on the outside looking in at 133 lbs, despite finishing second at the CAA Tournament. The NCAA awarded the conference just one automatic bid from the weight and Hutter will have to await the decision of the NCAA committee, who will meet on Monday and release the remaining at-large bids on Wednesday, March 11.
The Colonial Athletic Association will be well-represented at the 2009 NCAA Tournament in St. Louis, Mo., as 13 of the 20 qualifiers were either the one or two seed at their weights. Eleven of the automatic qualifiers are nationally ranked including eight in the current Top Ten, according to the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA poll.
2009 Colonial Athletic Association NCAA Automatic Qualifiers
125: James Nicholson, Old Dominion
125: Steve Bonanno, Hofstra
133: Lou Ruggirello, Hofstra
141: Ryan Williams, Old Dominion
149: Paul Gillespie, Hofstra
157: Jonny Bonilla-Bowman, Hofstra
157: Mike Kessler, Rider
165: Chris Brown, Old Dominion
165: Jason Lapham, Rider (True Second Win Over Ryan Patrovich, Hofstra)
174: Bagna Tovuujav, George Mason*
174: Alton Lucas, Hofstra
174: Eric Decker, Old Dominion
174: Hunter Meys, Boston University
184: Josh Patterson, Binghamton
184: Doug Umbehauer, Rider
197: Cayle Byers, George Mason
197: Jon Oplinger, Drexel
197: Jesse Strawn, Old Dominion
197: Joe Fagiano, Hofstra
285: Ed Bordas, Rider
*Most Outstanding Wrestler
True Placewinning Alternates in case of injury:
133: Kyle Hutter, Old Dominion
141: Justin Accordino, Hofstra
149: Mike Roberts, Boston University
285: Kyle Frey, Drexel