Houser takes fifth to pace UU at NCAA Regionals

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WEST LIBERTY, W. Va. – Urbana University men’s wrestling completed its inaugural season of the modern NCAA Division II era at the NCAA Division II Super Region III Tournament, hosted by West Liberty University.

“All of the guys battled hard,” UU head coach Brett Smith said. “We had some great wins, avenged some losses from earlier this year, and closed the gap on a few of our losses. I’m extremely proud of this team and how hard they’ve worked and sacrificed to bring the Urbana wrestling program back. They really are a special group.”

UU’s Cole Houser led the way for the Blue Knights with a fifth-place finish in the region at 157 pounds.

After receiving a first-round bye, Houser came out strong against eighth-ranked Zach Kelly from Notre Dame College, winning 10-3 by decision, to advance to the quarterfinals. Houser recorded a pair of takedowns and a near fall during the upset win.

Next, the freshman faced 12th-ranked Heath Lange of UIndy and came up short (fall, 1:44), before moving on to face Tiffin’s Beau Minnick in the consolation bracket. Minnick won by major decision, 15-4. Houser finished his first collegiate campaign with a team-best 16-7 record.

At 141 pounds, Jared Ford matched up against No. 10 Jose Rodriguez of Notre Dame College and recorded three points before he was pinned at 4:04. Then, Ford gathered himself and posted a victory over Tiffin’s Dylan Monsor in the consolation bracket, 10-4, by decision.

Dylan Knotts had a similar result at 165 pounds, rebounding from an opening loss with a 10-7 decision over Findlay’s Justin West. Knotts rallied from a 5-3 deficit after one period and outscored West 5-0 in the second before getting a late reversal in the third to seal the victory.

The UU lineup also featured Alec Fulwider (133), David Gilbert (174), Connor Dixon (184), Trevor Hankins (197) and Thomas Baker (285).

Notre Dame College claimed the region title with 125 points, followed by UIndy in second place with 122.5 points and Wheeling Jesuit in third with 121.5. Ashland finished fourth and Tiffin ended up in fifth to round out the top five teams.

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