ROANOKE, VA – York College Spartan senior wrestler Greg Warner made history on Friday at the 2019 NCAA Division III National Championships in Roanoke, Virginia. Warner became the first four-time All-American in the illustrious history with his two wins in the 149-pound bracket of the championships.
However, Warner is looking for more history on Saturday as he will attempt to becomes the program's second NCAA Division III National Champion with wins in the semifinals and finals.
Warner opened his day with an impressive 10-0 win over Ty Johnson from Concordia-M'head. Warner began the match with a takedown less than 30 seconds into the match. Warner then got a four-point near fall as he led 6-0 after one period. Warner was on the bottom to start the second period but quickly escaped to push the lead to 7-0. He got another take down in the third as the lead grew to 9-0. Warner had over three minutes of riding time to add the extra point for the 10-0 victory.
His task looked tall in the quarterfinals as he faced off against top seeded Da'mani Burns from Johnson & Wales. Burns entered the championship 30-4 and was rolling in his first two matches, posting a pair of wins by fall in a combined time of 1:05. Burns got an early takedown only to have Warner escape. Burns took Warner down again but the Spartan senior got a reversal and a near fall only to have Burns post a late reversal in the action packed first period. Burns took the bottom and Warner just dominated the final two periods of the match. Warner registered a two point near fall, a pair of four point near falls followed by another two point near fall. Warner's lead ballooned to 17-6 after two periods and he finished off the match with a four point near fall 31 seconds into third period, ending the match and moving him into the national semifinals.
The two wins draws Warner to within one win of Ryan Flynn's Spartan school record of 131 career victories. Warner is now 33-6 for the year and 130-34 for his four-year Spartan career.
Warner will look to improve on his second-place finish of a year ago and that starts with a semifinal match against Stevens Tech's Brett Kaliner. Kaliner earned his way to the semifinals with a tech fall in his opening match followed by an 11-2 major decision. The winner of the Warner/Kaliner semifinal will face the winner of the Alex Wilson (Augsburg) / Ryan Budzek (TCNJ) semifinal match in Saturday night's championship bout.
Junior Brandon Ballard had a strong run in the tournament on Friday. He started his day with a tough loss against #7 Jake O'Brien from Ithaca. Ballard bounced back with a 5-3 win over Olivet's Trevor Piggot in his first consolation bout. Unfortunately for the Spartan junior, he lost by pinfall to James Bethel, the top ranked heavyweight in the country to fall one win short of earning All-American status in his first national tournament.
Ballard, who joined the Spartans at the semester break, finished 11-6 and will return next fall with high expectations as he will have had time to dive full force into the Spartan program.
Senior Dylan Nuttall had a tough day to end his Spartan career as he went 0-2 at 125 pounds. Nuttall finishes his Spartan career with a record of 47-28 for his three-year York career.
Warner returns to the mat on Saturday morning as the championship semifinals kick off at 10:00 am at the Berglund Center. If Warner can win, he will advance straight to Saturday night's championship round.