ROANOKE, Va. – Senior wrestler Jay Albis has had one of the best careers of any Johnson & Wales University student-athlete. On Saturday, he put the exclamation mark on the end as he repeated as the NCAA Division III National Champion at 125 pounds.
As a team, the Wildcats finished third with 63 points. It exceeds 2017's fourth-place finish as the best in program history. Augsburg ran away with the team title, amassing 130 points.
JWU brought home plenty of hardware on Saturday night. Albis was named Most Outstanding Wrestler, Da'mani Burns picked up the Gorriaran Award for having the most pins in the shortest amount of time and Brian Allen was named Assistant Coach of the Year. Burns also brought home the award for the most pins this season with 23.
A pair of takedowns got Albis out to an early 4-2 lead over Wisconsin-Whitewater's Mike Tortorice, the number two seed. Albis took him down again and this time didn't let him up as he pinned him at the 2:26 mark. Albis finished his career with a 12-1 record at the NCAA Championships.
Jordan got an overtime takedown to beat the sixth seed, Charles Nash of Baldwin Wallace, 5-3 and end his career. Another overtime takedown allowed Thomas to wrap up his career with a third-place award as he beat the Merchant Marine Academy's Josh Glantzman, 3-1.
In the semifinals, Albis just missed out on a major decision, posting an 11-4 victory over Central's Cameron Timok.
Not known for pinning his opponent, Jordan started the day by doing exactly that in the 133-pound consolation quarterfinals. He beat Ferrum's Levi Englman in just 40 seconds. A takedown in overtime propelled him to a 9-7 victory over Stevens' Yoseph Borai to avenge a quarterfinal loss on Friday.
Thomas could not get past Ithaca's Jack Aschraft, the No. 2 seed, in the semifinals as he dropped a 2-1 decision. He rebounded to pin Chicago's Kyle Peisker in 1:20.
Head coach Lonnie Morris will have to replace six of the nine NCAA qualifiers next season but does return qualifiers Da'mani Burns – who earned the award for the most pins this season of any Division III wrestlers – Michael DiNardo and Tommy Wrzesien.