Sports

Two KU wrestlers qualify for Nationals

10 KU athletes take on Super Region Wrestling Championships

By Molly Kutz

KU Wrestling had ten athletes qualify for the 2023 NCAA Division II Super Region I Wrestling Championships. The event was held on Saturday inside Koehler Fieldhouse at East Stroudsburg University. Eleven teams participated, with over 100 wrestlers competing for the chance to place in the top three with the hope of advancing to the NCAA Division II National Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on March 10 and 11. 

Two KU athletes qualified for Nationals: Matthew Weinberg, a redshirt sophomore, finished runner-up at 184 pounds, and Dalton Gimbor, a redshirt freshman, placed third at 165 pounds. 

Weinberg will make his second appearance at the national tournament. At Super Region, he earned a first-round bye and then went on to pin Millersville’s Braden Newby in 2:20 in the quarterfinals. 

KU’s Matthew Weinberg wrestles Millersville’s Braden Newby in quarterfinals.
Photo Credit: Molly Kutz

During the semifinals, Weinberg got his second pin of the day over Seton Hill’s Riley O’Mara in 0:46. In the final match, Weinberg got pinned by Pitt-Johnstown’s Brock Biddle in 2:04. 

This will be Dalton Gimbor’s first appearance at the national tournament. During round one of Super Region, he earned a bye. In the quarterfinals, he won on a technical fall of 19-4 over East Stroudsburg’s Luke Ciampa at 5:20. 

KU’s Dalton Gimbor scores two points on a reversal against East Stroudsburg’s Luke Ciampa.
Video Credit: Molly Kutz

Gannon’s Alex Farenchak beat Gimbor in the semifinals 5-2. Gimbor pinned Mercyhurst’s Mike Clark at 2:25 in the consolation semifinals. In the consolation finals, he won 8-2 over East Stroudsburg’s Luke Ciampa. This win earned him a spot in Nationals. 

At 125 pounds, KU redshirt freshman Julien Maldonado lost during round one to Seton Hill’s Kyle Burkholder, 16-3. He earned a bye during the consolation round one before his second loss of the day to Mercyhurst’s Billy Smith by a pin in 4:34. 

At 133 pounds, KU’s KJ Fenstermacher, a redshirt senior, lost during round one by a 7-0 decision to Millersville’s Devin Flannery. He got a bye for consolation round one before gaining his first win of the day with an 8-0 decision over American International’s Aaron Morocho in consolation round two. American International’s Byron Daubert gave Fenstermacher his second loss in a 9-3 decision during the consolation quarterfinals. 

Senior multi-time national qualifier and KU All-American Collin Wickramaratna placed fourth at 141. With a bye in round one, he pinned Seton Hill’s Joel Cawoski in 1:55 for his first win of the day. Wickramaratna fell to Gannon’s Jimmy Ryan in the semifinals in a 9-4. In the consolation semifinals, he got his second win of the day in a 3-2 decision over Tim Uhler of Millersville. 

KU’s Collin Wickramaratna gets his first win of the day against Seton Hill’s Joel Cawoski.
Video Credit: Molly Kutz

“To compete at regionals this year was a blessing,” said Wickramaratna, “since I was injured for the end part of the season. It made me cherish every time I stepped on the mat.” 

The final match of Wickramaratna’s career was a loss to Pitt-Johnstown’s Caleb Morris, by a 7-3 decision. As he closed the book for his wrestling career, he had a combined collegiate record of 93-24 and a 63-13 record at KU. He also qualified for DII nationals with KU and DIII nationals with Ursinus as a freshman before transferring to KU. 

Wickramaratna expressed his gratitude for KU, “I came to Kutztown and was welcomed with open arms. That’s one thing Kutztown wrestling is great at doing, welcoming newcomers. For that, I am truly grateful.”

At 149, only two wins short of Nationals, KU’s Kibwe McNair, a sophomore, placed sixth. He earned a bye during round one. In the quarterfinals, he got pinned in 4:41 by Gannon’s Nick Young. In the consolation round two, he pinned Alderson Broaddus’ Chad Miller in 1:47. His second pin of the day was Seton Hill’s Dominic Williams in 6:47, which helped him move on to the consolation semifinals. 

However, McNair lost to American International’s Tommy Nichols in a 3:44 pin. He lost by a major decision to Colton Stoneking of Frostburg State in a fight for fifth place. 

Two points awarded to KU’s Kibwe McNair for a takedown.
Video Credit: Molly Kutz

Only two wins short of Nationals, at 157 pounds, KU’s Bailey Gimbor, a redshirt freshman and twin brother of Dalton, also placed sixth. After a bye in round one, Bailey pinned Mercyhurst’s Max Stedeford in 4:52 during the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he received his first loss to a close decision of 4-3 to Pitt-Johnstown’s Nathan Smith. 

Bailey’s second loss came from Millersville’s Jonathan Parrilla 5-3 in the consolation semifinals. For the fight for fifth place, Bailey used a medical forfeit causing Mercyhurst’s Max Stedeford to take fifth, with Bailey taking sixth. 

Another fourth-place finisher at 174 pounds was KU’s sophomore Ethan Baney, who had a round one win over East Stroudsburg’s Jaccob Gonzalez with a 12-3 decision. In the quarterfinals, he lost to Gannon’s Cole Casilio 3-1. 

In consolation round two, Baney got his second win 5-0 over Shippensburg’s Nyiem Flucas. In the consolation quarterfinals, he pinned Alderson Broaddus’s Ashton Miller in 1:33. 

He advanced his march to Nationals in the consolation semifinals and gained a 7-4 win over Seton Hill’s Brandon Matthews. A loss in the consolation finals to American International’s Jack MacKiernan placed him fourth and just out of reach of nationals. 

KU’s Tyler Fisher, a redshirt junior at 197 pounds, lost in round one 13-4 to Alderson Broaddus’ Dwayne Johnson. In the consolation round one, he earned a bye before he lost in consolation round two by a pin at 2:09 by Shippensburg’s Trey Shoemaker.

At 285 pounds, KU’s Dustin Swanson, a redshirt freshman, had a bye for round one and lost to Shippensburg’s Danny Scheib 6-1. In consolation round two, he pinned Frostburg State’s Thomas Garden in 4:21. In the consolation quarterfinals, Swanson lost on injury default to Millersville’s Bishop McCoy in 4:24.