The regular season co-champion Heidelberg University wrestling team will travel to a familiar place, Ada, Ohio and the campus of Ohio Northern University on March 2, 2013, to attempt to earn a trip to the NCAA Division III National Championships in Iowa.
For the first time in the history of the Heidelberg University wrestling program, qualification to the National Championships will come through regional qualifying and not at the Ohio Athletic Conference Championships.
“Our approach for preparing for the Mideast Regional this year isn't really that different than last year preparing for the OAC tournament,” said second year head coach Ned Shuck.
“We have a much different team this year so our training tactics change based on our team's needs. The coaching staff is confident with our wrestler’s abilities and feel good about our training to compete through a grind tournament with 16-17 teams in one day,” Shuck added.
Ten Student Princes will be traveling to Ada and among them are three freshman, one sophomore, three juniors and three seniors.
133-pounder Colin McDermitt (Lima/Lima Shawnee), 157-pounder Aaron Banko (Garfield Heights) and heavyweight Nino Majoy (Huron) will represent the freshmen class of Berg wrestlers.
Each young Student Prince has collected over ten wins for the Berg in their freshman campaign, with McDermitt leading the way with 21.
The lone sophomore, 184-pounder Richard Dowdley (Cleveland/Ginn Academy) transferred to the Berg in early January and has shown great potential. He finished third at the Pete Willson Invitational earlier in February, beating two nationally ranked opponents.
Dowdley enters the Mideast Regional with a record of 12-5 as a Student Prince.
125-pounder Delian Schneider (Tiffin/Columbian), 141-pounder Chris Osborne (McComb) and 174-pounder Jeremy Stepp (Cincinnati/Princeton) are the three juniors wrestling for the Berg in Ada.
Schneider has missed a portion of the season due to injury, but has still managed to collect 18 wins entering the weekend. Osborne leads the group of juniors with 26 victories, seven coming by technical fall and nine by decision.
Stepp has wrestled his way to a 25 wins season thus far with 20 victories coming by decision. All three juniors are ranked nationally by d3wrestle.com.
Finally, the three seniors competing at the Mideast Regional will be 149-pounder Andrew Johnson (Weston/Otsego), 165-pounder Justin Wharton (Oregon/Clay) and 197-pounder Andy Lovins (Clinton Township, MI./Lake Shore), who was a national qualifier a year ago.
Lovins navigated the OAC unscathed and will look to add another trip to the NCAA Division III Championships to his already impressive collegiate resume.
Johnson was handed only one loss in the OAC but has amassed a team-high 28 wins over the course of the season. Johnson also leads the teams in falls with 14.
Wharton has also been banged up for a portion of the season but has wrestled hard for the Berg in every outing he has competed in. Wharton holds a record of 19-5 entering the Mideast Regional.
“In the end, it will be the wrestlers that are willing to fight the hardest and believe in themselves that will be standing on top of the podium. I have faith in our guys and wouldn't want to be going into this battle with anyone else,” concluded Shuck.
Action from the Mideast Regional is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. with the finals matches beginning approximately at 7:00 p.m. later that evening.