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May 27, 2024 8:28 am

Five wrestlers qualify for nationals, UMO finishes second

PEMBROKE – The University of Mount Olive men’s wrestling program finished runner-up at the NCAA Super Regional II on Feb. 25 and qualified a school-record five individuals for the NCAA National Championships.

The Trojans tallied 115 points in the team standings with five wrestlers in the top three to secure the best finish in program history. Prior to today, the wrestling team had only qualified four individuals for nationals and now will send five representatives to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. No. 2 nationally-ranked Lander captured its first-ever Super Region II title with 164 points, while Newberry rounded out the top three in the standings with 111.5 points.

Freshman Calan Staub made program history by becoming the first-ever individual regional champion at Mount Olive. Competing at 174, he produced an unblemished 4-0 record to claim the crown after opening the competition with back-to-back wins via fall. In the semifinals, Staub battled to a 6-1 decision to advance to the finals. In the first-place match, he completed his historic performance with a 13-11 sudden victory.

In the 133 weight class, redshirt freshman Taylor Robinson boasted a 2-1 record to place second overall. After receiving a first-round bye, he delivered an 8-3 decision before winning in the semifinals by an 18-6 major decision. In the first-place match, Robinson suffered an 8-5 loss via decision.

Redshirt senior Nico Ramirez registered a second-place finish at heavyweight to qualify for the national championships. Following a first-round bye, he battled to win a 2-0 decision. In the semifinals, Ramirez won by a 5-1 decision before falling in the finals by a 13-2 major decision. He becomes a five-time NCAA qualifier after being a three-time All-American in Division III.

In the 141 weight class, No. 11-ranked redshirt freshman Dallas Wilson qualified for nationals for the first time in his career with a 3-1 mark on Saturday. He recorded a victory via fall in the quarterfinals before falling in the semifinals. In the consolation bracket, Wilson picked up a pin before taking a win to place third overall.

Redshirt junior Michael Vernagallo reached nationals with a third-place finish at 165 after opening the event with a 7-3 decision. In the semifinals, Vernagallo suffered a 10-8 loss via sudden victory. Vernagallo rebounded in the consolation bracket with a first-round fall before clinching third place with another win by fall.

The five qualifiers will now begin preparations for the NCAA National Championships held on March 10-11.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics