Buffalo Duo Gears Up for NCAA Tournament
BUFFALO, NY - Junior Mark Lewandowski and freshman teammate Max Soria are set to take on all comers starting tomorrow at the upcoming NCAA national wrestling championships, to be held in St. Louis, MO from March 15-17.
Soria finished as the true fourth at the Mid-American Conference tournament, earning an automatic bid to the national tournament. The redshirt freshman finished the season with a 21-17 overall record. Soria will face either Maryland's Shane Gentry, or seventh-seeded Jarod Patterson of Oklahoma. Gentry finished the season with a 14-6 record (10-4 duals) and lost 6-3 to Patterson earlier this season. Patterson is a junior who is a returning All American who had a 23-5 (15-3) record this season. The winner of the Soria vs. Patterson/Gentry preliminary match will take on either Wyoming's Michael Martinez or Penn State's Nicholas Megaludis, with the loser of those matches squaring off in the wrestle backs.
Lewandowski lost in the finals of the MAC tournament, and will face a challenge right off the bat as he will take on seventh seed Josh Asper of Maryland. Asper is a returning All American who went 24-1 this season, 15-0 in duals. Should Lewandowski win, he would face Virginia's Nick Sulzer (25-7) in the next round. After coming just a few points shy of becoming an All American last season, the junior from Depew, NY will be motivated and unafraid, having defeated fifth-seeded Jesse Dong of Virginia Tech last season and coming just shy of beating eventual national champion Bubba Jenkins.
As a conference, the MAC will send 25 wrestlers to the national event. After 20 clinched automatic berthsat the conference tournament, an additional four wrestlers joined Lewandowski to have their names called as at-large selections.