By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (blugolds.com) - The opening day of the 2018 NCAA Division III Upper Midwest Regional took place at Augsburg University's Si Melby Hall on Friday. After the first day of action, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire wrestling team has four wrestlers that advanced to day two of the tournament, including three semifinalists.
With the regional adding conference powerhouses UW-La Crosse and UW-Whitewater this year, the field became that much tougher and also extended it into a two-day tournament. The top three finishers in each weight class will advance to the NCAA Division III National Championships, to be held March 9-10 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The four wrestlers for the Blugolds with an opportunity to qualify for nationals on Saturday are Tyler Demo (Fr.-Loves Park, IL/Belvidere North), Seth Vosters (So.-Freedom, WI), Chase Schmidt (Fr.-Rice Lake, WI), and Ramsey Bloy (Jr.-Freedom, WI).
Demo only had one match on Friday, but it was a big win to reach the 133-pound semifinals. The freshman defeated Hazen Rice (UW-Whitewater), the No. 3-seed, by a 12-8 decision. Demo will wrestle the second-seeded Anthony Munoz of Elmhurst College on Saturday morning.
At 157-pounds, Vosters is in the consolation side of the bracket. After dropping a 7-5 decision to start the day, Vosters stayed alive by stringing together three straight wins. Two of those were falls and one a technical fall. If he can do it again on Saturday and rally for three more consecutive wins, he will qualify for the national tournament.
Schmidt pulled off a slight upset in the 165-pound quarterfinals, majoring UW-La Crosse's Mitchell Hertel, the No. 4-seed. This came after a third period pinfall in his opening match. Schmidt will take on top-seeded Lucas Jeske of Augsburg in the semifinals.
Finally, it was a dominant day for the Blugolds' 197-pounder. Bloy, the No. 2-seed in the bracket, won by an 18-2 technical fall in his opening round match and followed that up with a pinfall in the quarters.
Action resumes on Saturday at 10 a.m. with the championship semifinals, consolation quarterfinals and semifinals, and placing matches for first, third, and fifth.
Follow the action for all sports this season on Blugold Game Day.