By Tim Glon
ADA — Senior Kyle Kwiat, senior Jeremy Jones and sophomore Cody Lovejoy led No. 26-ranked Ohio Northern to a fifth place finish at the 16-team NCAA III Mideast Regional Tournament Saturday at the ONU Sports Center.
The trio also earned bids to compete at the 2013 NCAA III Championships March 15-16 at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Kwiat won the 174-pound title, while Jones and Lovejoy each placed third at 133 and 285 pounds, respectively.
Kwiat was also named the Most Valuable Wrestler of the championships.
The top three wrestlers in each of the three weight classes qualify for the NCAA III Championships.
"I'm very excited for our three NCAA Championships qualifiers," ONU head coach Ron Beaschler said. "All of our guys battled hard all day and we placed five in 10 weight classes in a 16-team tournament. I am very happy with the way we competed."
Northern tied for fifth place with Messiah (Pa.) with 73 points. Elizabethtown (Pa.) won the team title with 101 points, Mount Union was second with 93 points, Brockport State (N.Y.) was third with 83.5 points and Heidelberg was fourth with 75.5 points.
Kwiat, the top-ranked defending national champion at 174 pounds, won the title with a perfect 4-0 record.
A three-time All-American, he will be making his fourth consecutive appearance at the NCAA III Championships and boasts a 41-3 record with a nation's-best 24 tech falls.
Jones qualified for the NCAA III Championships with a third place finish at 133 pounds.
He went 5-1 on the day and won the third place match with a thrilling 6-5 victory. Jones is now 28-18 on the season.
Lovejoy placed third at heavyweight with a 4-1 record. He will be making his first appearance at the NCAA Championships and now has a 31-12 mark on the season.
A total of five ONU wrestlers placed in the top six in their respective weight classes.
Pawlitz finishes his season with a 30-9 record and Pasquale ends up with a 26-15 record.
Eight of the 10 Polar Bears won at least one match in the tournament, as sophomore Kyle Brezovec went 2-2 at 157 pounds, freshman Tyler Gargano went 1-2 at 165 and Kyle Raber went 2-2 at 184 for the Polar Bears.