PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Castleton University wrestling team wrapped up NCAA Division III Northeast Regional Championship competition on Sunday afternoon, finishing fifth out of 17 teams at the two-day event.
Castleton had seven wrestlers earn All-Region recognition, headlined by Jesse Webb in the 285-pound class with a second-place finish to qualify for the NCAA Division III National Championships in Roanoke, Va., on March 8 and 9. Max Tempel also earned a spot at the NCAA National Championships, punching his ticket with a third-place finish at the 149.
Webb and Tempel are Castleton's first NCAA National Championship qualifiers since the 2016-17 season, when the Spartans sent Zak Hale to the event during the program's inaugural season. The fifth-place team finish is Castleton's best place as a program at the event in team history, topping the previous-best mark of 11th place during the 2017-18 campaign.
Michael Gonyea finished fifth in the 133-pound bracket, while Chance LaPier placed sixth at the 174. Mitchell LaFlam won the seventh-place bout at the 197, while Nick Camacho and Jason Hoffman earned eighth-place finishes at the 125 and 184, respectively.
Webb claimed a 6-3 decision win over NYU's Will Ortman to advance to the heavyweight championship match, where he squared off with Coast Guard's Patrick Irwin—the third-ranked heavyweight in the NEWA. Webb came up just short of the regional title, but came away with a second-place finish and a trip to nationals after falling 2-0 in the championship bout.
Tempel dropped his semifinal match to Johson & Wales' Da'Mani Burns—the top-ranked 149-pounder in the country—by a 6-3 decision, but bounced back with a 1-0 win over Southern Maine's Brendan Weir to advance to the third-place match. He squared off with Grant Sorensen of Trinity (Conn.) with a trip to nationals on the line and came out on top with a 3-1 decision in a sudden-victory overtime period against the second-ranked 149-pounder in the NEWA.
Gonyea opened his day with an 18-15 decision loss in the semifinals, moving to the consolation bracket. He then fell to Ian Tolotti in the consolation semifinals before knocking off William Crisco of New York University 3-2 to claim a fifth-place finish in the 133.
LaPier won his first match of the day in the consolation quarterfinals, claiming a 21-5 technical fall to advance to the consolation semifinals. He fell to Malik Settles of New England College, moving into the fifth-place bout against Brett Leonard where he was pinned in 2:53 for a sixth-place finish. LaFlam dropped his opening match on Sunday by fall, but bounced back with an 8-0 win via major decision in the seventh-place match, knocking off Sebastian Dziadkiewicz.
Camacho dropped both of his bouts on Sunday to earn an eighth-place finish, falling via major decision to Roger Williams' Kyle Kaiser before coming up on the short side of a 4-0 decision to Williams' David Yeh in the seventh-place match. Hoffman also dropped a pair of matches on Sunday to earn an eighth-place mark, falling 3-0 in his opening bout before getting pinned in the seventh-place match by Rhode Island College's Michael Gallagher.
Webb and Tempel will continue their seasons at the NCAA Division III National Championships hosted by Ferrum College at The Berglund Center in Roanoke, Va., on March 8 and 9.