CLEVELAND, Ohio – Following the first day of action at the 2018 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships, the Johnson & Wales University wrestling team sits in fourth place. The Wildcats have 32.5 points, trailing third-place Ithaca by 12.5 points. Wartburg leads with 76.5 points.
The first day produced four All-Americans and a pair of semifinalist. Jay Albis, the number two seed at 125 pounds, and unseeded Joao Vicente at 133 pounds are still in contention for a national championship. Also earning All-America honors was Joe Ferinde (141 pounds) and Khamri Thomas (184 pounds).
The championship resumes at 10 a.m. on Saturday with the semifinals of both the main and consolation draws.
After nearly getting pins in his first two matches, Albis came through in the quarterfinals. He took down Messiah's Sean Redington at the 4:24 mark. Albis cruised through both of his victories in the morning session. He defeated York's Dylan Nuttall, 9-2, in the pigtail round then topped Josh Anoine from SUNY Cortland, 9-0.
Vicente took control in the second period against top-ranked Troy Stanich of Stevens then dominated the third round on his way to an opening 11-2 victory. He got an early lead on Brendan Gould from Augustana then held on for the 5-2 victory.
Following an opening-round loss, Ferinde fought back through the consolations. He was in complete control against Augsburg's David Flynn, winning 5-3 to claim his second All-America honor. Trailing by a point in the third period and on the verge of losing a point on riding time, Ferinde rallied to take down former national champion Matthew Grossmann of Wilkes in the closing seconds for the 8-7 triumph. Brendan Ladd from Alma was too much for Ferinde, posting an 11-3 major decision in the opening round.
With a shot at his first All-America award, Thomas left no doubt as he topped Messiah's Derek Beitz, 8-0, for the major decision. It took an extra period for him to move on in the first round as he took down Baldwin Wallace's Zeckary Lehman for the 4-2 victory. In the sudden victory period, he couldn't match Christos Giatras' escape as he lost 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
Senior Jonah Aurelio got an escape in the third period then took down Wisconsin-Lacrosse's Konrad Ernst in the first overtime period for the 4-2 decision during the pigtail round of 285 pounds. The East Providence native dominated his first match in the consolations, beating BWU's Gabriel Mahaney, 7-2. The third time wasn't the charm as he lost his final collegiate match to Wesleyan's Isaiah Bellamy, 4-1. Aurelio was beaten 3-2 by the number three seed, Jake O'Brien of Ithaca, in the second round of the main draw.
In the consolations of 165 pounds, Adrian Gonzalez hung on for a 4-2 victory against Tyler Grimsley of Olivet. His run was stopped by the top seed, Wartburg's Mike Ross, 10-2. Gonzalez put up a good fight, but was pinned by the No. 2 seed, Lucas Jeske of Augsburg, at the 4:25 mark of the opening round.
His first trip to the NCAA Championships didn't go how Michael DiNardo had hoped. He lost 6-4 to Andrew Holladay of Coe in the opening round of 197 pounds then fell in the consolations, 8-1, to Wisconsin-Eau's Ramsey Bloy.