By Tim Glon
CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. — Senior Gavin Nelson (Oregon/Clay) and sophomore Nate Barcaskey (Moon Township, Pa./Moon Area) advanced to the semifinals of their respective weight classes to lead the Ohio Northern wrestling team on the first day of the NCAA Division III Central Regional Championships on Friday at Knowling Fieldhouse, hosted by Wabash (Ind.)
Nelson, the sixth seed at 165 pounds, advanced to the semifinals with a pin over JaVon Phillips of Manchester (Ind.) in the first round and a decision over fourth-seeded Dylan Steward of Adrian (Mich.) in the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Barcaskey won by a first period fall over Ryan Hatcher of Thomas More (Ky.) and a 10-0 major decision over eighth-seeded Brian McNamara of Case Western Reserve at heavyweight.
Both men have clinched top-6 finishes in their respective weight classes.
The top three wrestlers in each of the 10 weight classes qualify for the NCAA III Championships march 9-10 in Cleveland. Each weight class places the top six finishers.
Two other Polar Bears are still alive in the consolation quarterfinals and need three victories without a defeat on Saturday to finish third and qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Sophomore Seth Transue (Plain City/Dublin), senior Seth Meyer (Defiance), junior Clayton Davidson (Kirtland) and freshman Cash Thompson (Lake Odessa, Mich./Lakewood) reached the consolation quarterfinals at 125 with 2-1 records at 125, 165, 174 and 184, respectively.
"We are happy to have six guys still alive," ONU head coach Ron Beaschler said. "I'm not sure things went exactly as we had planned and it was ugly at times, but having six alive after day one is a good accomplishment. We need to keep being aggressive. The key to being successful at this level is to be aggressive right from the opening whistle."
Senior Evan Hickey (Wilmington) was eliminated with a 1-2 record at 197 pounds, losing by decision to the top seed 8-5 and the No. 2 seed 6-5.