Crawfordsville, Ind. –The Alma College wrestling team finished in seventh place at NCAA Division III Central Regional as juniors Brendan Ladd (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) and Zachary Cooper (Chippewa Hills, Mich. / Whitehall) were the champions of their weight classes thus qualifying for NCAA Championships.
How It Happened
Ladd and Cooper came into the second day of regionals with 2-0 records so far in the tournament. Ladd won his semifinal, locking up his spot in nationals for the second straight year, by a score of 4-2. In the first-place match cruised to a 19-10 major decision win to become the Regional Champ at 141 pounds.
Cooper the transfer kept his spectacular first season with the Scots going by winning 7-5 in sudden victory fashion. Then in the 149 pound championship bout, the Chippewa Hills native matched up against Luke Hernandez of the University of Mount Union. On January 26, at the Pete Willson Wheaton Invitational, Cooper suffered his first and still only loss of the season against Hernandez.
The junior was able to get his revenge in bout that saw zero points be scored until the final seconds. It was the Alma junior who was given the victory by a score of 1-0 giving the Scots two regional champions this year.
Sophomore Austin Fox (Fort Worth, Texas / Timber Creek) and freshman Dylan Seaton (Port Huron, Mich. / Port Huron Northern) were still in contention coming into Saturday (Feb. 23). Seaton loss both of his matches on the day to finish in eighth place at 184 pounds.
Fox was able to win his first bout in Round Three of the Consolation Bracket by a 15-5 major decision but his chances at a National bid were stopped when he fell in the following round. The sophomore ended up earning sixth place in the 197 pound weight class.
Ladd and Cooper are Alma's first regional champions since 2016.
Alma improved its rankings in the team standings by six spots compared to last year.
Four of the six teams that finished ahead of the Scots are ranked in the nation's top 25.
The Scots placed higher than MIAA rivals Trine University (IN) and Adrian College.
What They Said
"Feels great, just went out there and did my thing and came out on top."
- Junior Brendan Ladd
"I feel a lot better than I did two weeks ago. I'm happy with my performance. I got the job done and that's all I can ask for."
- Junior Zachary Cooper
"It's a huge improvement from last year, overall as a weekend we wrestled well. We're a young team and now we starting preparing for nationals with Cooper and Ladd."
- Head Coach Jeremiah Tobias
The NCAA Division III Championships will be held in Roanoke, Virginia from Friday, March 8 to Saturday, March 9.