SSA grad makes NCAA tourney
Competing in the 133-pound weight class, Davidson College sophomore Anthony Elias, a 2011 Shady Side Academy graduate, will face ninth-seeded Northern Iowa redshirt sophomore Levi Wolfensperger in the first round of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships today, Thursday, NCAA tournament officials announced last week.
Session I of the NCAA championships begins with competition at noon in Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Elias' bout will be No. 29. Session II of the double-elimination tournament will begin at 7:30 p.m. ESPN3 will have exclusive live coverage of the first and second rounds.
Elias (11-8), who defeated 24th-ranked Sam Speno of NC State during the regular season, was seeded seventh out of eight wrestlers entering the 2013 Southern Conference Wrestling Championship on March 16, but defeated the top two seeds en route to the individual title at 133 pounds and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
The conference coaches recognized Elias' feat by electing him Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament, making him the first Davidson wrestler to win the award.
Wolfensperger finished second at the Mid-American Conference Championships to earn his automatic bid, and enters with a 23-8 record.
He went to the NCAA Championships last season at 141 pounds after winning the Western Wrestling Conference Championship in the weight class. The University of Northern Iowa departed the WWC to join the MAC this season.
The winner of the match between Elias and Wolfensperger will face the winner of the match between eighth-seeded Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) and Matt Brystol (Columbia). The loser will have to compete in the pigtail wrestleback match, and will face the loser of the first-round pigtail-match, which features another 2011 SSA graduate, Geoffrey Alexander of the University of Maryland (22-9 ) and Devon Lotito (Cal Poly, 24-5).
Bob Patnesky is the coach of Davidson and hails from the Pittsburgh area. Patnesky, a Canon-McMillan graduate, was well aware of Elias' wrestling success at SSA.
“We knew all about Anthony and his brother, Philip. In fact, Philip is wrestling here at Davidson, also,” Patnesky said.
“Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending injury a few weeks ago. But we knew they both could wrestle.”
Anthony has been starting since his freshman year.
“He stepped right in and was impressive from the start,” Patnesky said. “His main advantage over other wrestlers is that he's very, very powerful. He's been a great kid and a hard worker.”
Patnesky is confident that Elias can make a strong showing in the NCAA Championships.
“Anything can happen and I believe that he can do quite well,” he said.
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.