LEXINGTON, Va. (Feb. 28, 2016) – For the second-straight day a USMMA student-athlete has qualified for the NCAA National Championships, as today it was senior wrestler Ricky Fisher (Nashville, Tenn.) that earned a spot at Nationals with his second-place finish at 197 at the NCAA East Regional Meet this weekend, hosted by Washington and Lee University. Overall, the Mariners finished in seventh place out of the 18 teams at the event with 69.5 points and had six wrestlers place in the top six.
Two other Mariners will serve as second alternates for the NCAA National Championship Meet, as junior Nathan Twito (Ames, Iowa) placed fifth at 149 with a 3-2 record and senior Mike Maye (Pearl River, N.Y/) came in fifth as well at 165 after going 4-2 on the weekend.
Freshmen Erik Beshada (South River, N.J.), Blake Bunce (Trophy Club, Texas) and Brandon Joest (Kendallville, Ind.) all earned 3-3 records over the two-day event at 157, 184 and 285, respectively. All three came in sixth place in the brackets.
Senior Mike Mui (Hingham, Mass.) went 2-2 at 125 to round out the Mariner wrestlers with multiple wins, while sophomore William Hardin (Oxford, Ala.) and freshman Daniel May (Stafford, Va.) both had one victory each on Saturday.
Fisher, who will represent the Mainers on the national stage for the second consecutive year, had an overall record of 3-1 on the weekend. He earned two decisions on Saturday to reach the semifinals on Sunday.
In his first match of the day, Fisher, who was the #1 seed in the bracket, won an 8-2 decision over Gettysburg's Anthony Puca to reach the finals and guarantee his spot at Nationals. In the first-place match against #2 seed Dennis Melendez of Hunter, the senior suffered a 10-3 loss.
This is the eighth-straight season that head coach Greg Ilaria has had a wrestler qualify for nationals, as he's sent at least one Mariner through in each of his eight seasons at Kings Point.
The full field of wrestlers for the 2016 NCAA National Championship Meet will be released this coming week. The national event is scheduled for March 11-12 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Tickets are available at http://www.ncaa.com/tickets and a Championship Hub with live links to follow along the action will be available closer to the event, check the USMMA wrestling schedule page for those links.
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