WILLIAMSPORT, PA – Three Spartan wrestlers punched their tickets to the national tournament after finishing in the top three of their respective weight classes. Greg Warner, Dylan Nuttall, and Brandon Ballard all earned national championship bids on Saturday.
Senior Greg Warner became the first Spartan in school history to earn a bid to the national championship tournament four times. Warner started off the day with a close matchup against Washington & Jefferson's Michael Heinl. Warner won the match 5-2 advancing to the regional title match at 149 pounds after already clinching a berth to the national tournament. Warner was victorious over Messiah College's Stephen Maloney giving him his second consecutive regional championship.
Fellow senior Dylan Nuttall gritted his way to his second straight national championship appearance after finishing third in the region at 125. Nuttall dropped his semifinal match to eventual regional champion Josiah Gehr from Messiah meaning Nuttall had to win out to make it to nationals. Nuttall pinned Lycoming's Shane Casey to advance to the third-place match and won 10-3 in convincing fashion over Ferrum's Jalen White to clinch his berth for the second straight season.
Junior Brandon Ballard punched his first career ticket to nationals after going through the consolation bracket. Ballard began the day with a pin of Ferrum's Alveno Matthews and followed that up with a tight 3-1 victory over Paul Triandafilou from Gettysburg. In the third-place match, Ballard gutted out a 3-2 decision over Penn College's Dylan Otis to clinch his national championship bid.
Seniors Frankie Krauss and Jesse Huber had their Spartan careers come to a close. Krauss fell to the eventual regional champion Rexx Hallyburton from Washington & Lee in the semifinal before coming up just short 6-5 to Jake Paulson from Penn State Behrend who eventually earned a bid for nationals finishing in third. Krauss finishes his stellar career with an 89-32 record including a 29-6 senior campaign. He was one of two Spartans to finish the year with over 25 wins wrestling at 184 pounds. Huber dropped both of his matches on Saturday after having to withdrawal from his first match due to injury. He tried to gut out the next match but was unable to come out on top and has his Spartan career conclude. Huber finished the year 21-6 with a 52-37 record.
The three Spartans will prepare for the national championships that are hosted by Ferrum College in Roanoke, Virginia. The two-day championships will take place on March 8 and 9.