Audio Interview: Frank Romano
Notre Dame sent nearly 20 wrestlers to Saturday's Cleveland State Open, and two Falcon grapplers -- Joey Davis and Jeffery Pelton -- came away with titles. (Brackets)
In a quality field of mostly NCAA-I and NCAA-II talent, Davis and Pelton went a combined 11-0 in claiming first place in the 165- and 157-pound weight classes, respectively.
"We had some nice performances today," said Head Coach Frank Romano, whose Wrestling Falcons were tabbed as the No. 6 team in the Dec. 12 Basford Division II Rankings. "But the days that Jeffrey Pelton and Joey Davis had were really outstanding."
Joey Davis' day included dispatching three D-I foes en route to earning his third open title this season. Davis -- the now-top-ranked D-II wrestler at 165 (Basford) -- went 5-0 with three major decisions. The three majors all came against D-I foes; the freshman from California is now 9-0 this season against D-I opponents. On Saturday, those three majors were a prelude to Davis defeating another D-I foe -- Central Michigan's Mike Ottinger. Davis delivered a 9-5 win in the title bout to run his season record to 14-0.
Davis won a freshman/sophomore title in the Eastern Michigan Open on Nov. 3 and then took first at the Michigan State Open on Nov. 11. His three open wins this season are a team high.
Third-ranked Jeffery Pelton upped his season record to 8-0 with a six-win afternoon at CSU's Woodling Gymnasium. Pelton had a pin, a tech fall and a major included among his six victories, five of which came against Division I foes. The senior grappler downed Gardner-Webb's (N.C.) Alex Medved, 8-1, in a decisive title bout at 157.
"We saw a lot of Division I opponents today," said Romano. "That bodes well for us as we prepare for the second half of our season."
Also traveling far in the brackets on Saturday was Maurice Miller, who placed second at 141. Miller's day included three one-point wins in a row, from the quarterfinals-on. In his semifinal victory, he took out Edinboro's (Pa.) Kasey Davis, 6-5. Davis had breezed his way into that bout, collecting two tech falls and two majors. (Over those four wins, Davis outscored opponents, 60-8.) Miller went 4-1 on the day and is now 14-2 on the year.
Notre Dame had a fourth place-winner come away from the CSU Open on Saturday: Shane Justice took sixth at 149 pounds. Justice won twice in the championship bracket and then after being pinned by Northwestern's (Ill.) Jeff Tsirtis -- the eventual champ at 149 -- Justice lost two straight in the wrestleback.
Other notable performances on Saturday included Marty Carlson winning three bouts at 133 and Charles Mason winning three bouts at 184.
The open in downtown Cleveland marked the Falcons' final event of the 2012 calendar year. NDC is slated to return to action on Jan. 5, when the Wrestling Falcons compete in the Lake Erie Open.