REDDING, CA – The University of Great Falls wrestling team finished second at the West regional qualifier at Simpson College in Redding, CA on Saturday with four wrestlers earning automatic berths to the NAIA national championships set for March 3-4 in Topeka, KS.
The top three placers at each of the six regional qualifying tournaments earned a bid to the national tournament with each region sending five additional wrestlers through wildcard selections based on performance.
John Hensley won an individual title at 197 pounds and will be joined at nationals by Randy Keesler (third at 174 lbs), Shonn Roberts (second at 141 lbs) and Matt Hopkins who earned a regional wildcard berth with a fourth place finish at 197 pounds.
MSU-Northern finished fifth as a team, and will also send four wrestlers to nationals including three individual region champs in Brandon Weber (157 lbs), Ben Stroh (184 lbs) and Taylor Kornoely (285 lbs). Matthew Weber placed third at 141 pounds to earn an automatic berth for the Lights.
There are still 30 wildcard spots available at the tournament which will be designated by the national selection committee. It’s likely that additional wrestlers from UGF and MSU-Northern will be Kansas bound. The full 240-man field for the 2017 NAIA National Championships will be announced on Tuesday.