For the first time in Division II program history, the University of Mary is sending three wrestlers to the NCAA tournament. Senior Tate Barnhardt, plus sophomores Phil Springsteen and Gerardo Jaime, helped push Adam Aho’s Marauder program to new heights Saturday in Moorhead when each finished in the top three of their respective weight classes.
Seeded first at 133 coming in, Barnhardt was upended in the semifinals 12-5 by St. Cloud redshirt freshman Garrett Vos. Vos was able to blow a 6-5 match open in the third period with some nifty shot defense that left Barnhardt on his back. The Bismarck native then had to win two matches in a row including one over the returning national runner-up to qualify for his first national tournament.
174 Phil Springsteen also had to qualify from the consolation side after he was edged 5-2 in the third overtime period by Wisconsin-Parkside’s Connor Price. Price and Springsteen went to over tied 1-1 and Springsteen nearly scored a go-behind in the first minute but Price was able to keep hold of the leg until just after the whistle blew ending the period. Price was the able to escape in his part of the top/bottom overtime and turned Springsteen to his back from the top position.
Seeded fourth coming in, Mary 285 Gereardo Jaime lost his pigtail match before winning four matches in a row to qualify for the national tournament. In the third place match, Jaime edged top seed Triston Westerlund of Upper Iowa 3-1 in overtime. With :20 seconds to go in the first overtime period, Jaime punched an underhook and reach the knee for a single leg. Westerlund attempted to dive through and create a scramble, but Jaime was ready and came away on top for the winning takedown.
The NCAA tournament begins Friday, March 8 in Cleveland, OH.