ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – Junior 141-pounder Zach Bylykbashi (Southington, Conn. / Southington) won his weight class and was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler, as the Washington and Lee wrestling team claimed a seventh-place finish out of 18 teams at the NCAA Southeast Regional hosted by Ferrum College at Franklin County High School on Saturday.
Bylykbashi is W&L's second regional champion in as many years, joining Joe Scott '20, who was the individual champion at 165 pounds last season. Bylykbashi, who finished third at 133 pounds last year, is also the first General to qualify for the NCAA National Championship twice in a career since Rich Redfoot '89 qualified in 1987 and 1989.
As a team, the Generals' seventh-place finish is its highest since the NCAA went to a regional format in 2013. Messiah finished as the regional champion with 147.0 points, while York (Pa.) was second with 133.0 points. Ferrum and Johns Hopkins tied for third with 93.0 points each, and Lycoming was fifth with 80.0 points. Delaware Valley edged the Generals for sixth with 76.5 points, while W&L finished with 72.0 points.
Bylykbashi earned his bid to Nationals with a 6-4 overtime win in the semifinals over Matthew Grossman of Wilkes. Grossman is a former National Champion, having claimed the 2015 title at 133 pounds. Bylykbashi then won the 141-pound bracket with a 2-0 decision over Tim Ambacher of Delaware Valley in the title match. Ambacher entered the tournament ranked sixth in Division III. For his efforts, Bylykbashi was named the outstanding wrestler of the regional.
The Generals had three other placewinners at the event. Sophomore Shane Conners (Mount Airy, Md. / South Carroll) finished fourth in the 157-pound weight class, sophomore Rexx Hallyburton (Bishop, Ga. / Oconee County) placed fifth in the 184-pound weight class and first-year Bryce Crew (St. Mary's, Ga. / Camden County) finished sixth in the 149-pound weight class.
Conners came tantalizingly close to finishing Top 3 and earning a bid to the National Championship as well. He dropped a heartbreaking 6-5 decision to Kevin Edwards of Messiah in the semifinals of his bracket, but battled back to defeat David White of King's by a score of 18-6. With another shot to earn a bid in the third-place match, he fell to Johns Hopkins' Dominick Reyes in overtime by a score of 5-4 to place fourth.
Hallyburton began his day in the consolation bracket with a 5-3 victory over Matthew Hudge of Wilkes, but fell to Francis Krauss of York in overtime by a score of 3-1. He then posted a 4-2 win over Nickolas Bord of Delaware Valley in the fifth-place match.
Crew added to his W&L season record for pins by knocking off Connor Joyce of Johns Hopkins in his first match of the day in the consolation bracket. He pinned Joyce in 1:36. However, he then dropped a 4-0 decision to Trevor Corl of Lycoming and fell to Zachary Wilson of Greensboro in the fifth-place match by a score of 5-0.
Bylykbashi moves on to NCAA Nationals, which will take place on March 9-10 in Cleveland, Ohio. He will carry an 88-24 overall record and a 28-8 record this season into the championships. Bylykbashi finished just one win shy of earning All-America honors at last season's championship event.
Samuel Braswell (Averett) d. Ethan Hartman (W&L); 19-9
Ethan Hartman (W&L) d. Jacob Fankhauser (Penn State-Behrend); 10-6
Ethan Hartman (W&L) d. Zachary Beckner (Ferrum); Medical Forfeit
Gabriel Wilson (Greensboro) d. Ethan Hartman (W&L); 6-3
Zach Bylykbashi (W&L) d. Ethan Landis (Lycoming); 10-1
Zach Bylykbashi (W&L) d. Sean Thompson (Gettysburg); 12-3
Zach Bylykbashi (W&L) d. Matthew Grossmann (Wilkes); 6-4 (OT)
Zach Bylykbashi (W&L) d. Tim Ambacher (Delaware Valley); 2-0 (Championship Match)
Bryce Crew (W&L) d. Jake Daniel (King's); Fall 2:29
Josh Evans (Wilkes) d. Bryce Crew (W&L); 5-2
Bryce Crew (W&L) d. Clifford Harrison (Ferrum); Fall 1:59
Bryce Crew (W&L) d. Connor Joyce (Johns Hopkins); Fall 1:36
Trevor Corl (Lycoming) d. Bryce Crew (W&L); 4-0
Zachary Wilson (Greensboro) d. Bryce Crew (W&L); 5-0
Shane Conners (W&L) d. David White (King's); 8-6
Shane Conners (W&L) d. Dominick Reyes (Johns Hopkins); 3-1 (OT)
Kevin Edwards (Messiah) d. Shane Conners (W&L); 6-5
Shane Conners (W&L) d. David White (King's); 18-6
Dominick Reyes (Johns Hopkins) d. Shane Conners (W&L); 5-4 (OT) (Third-Place Match)
Brandon Lefore (W&L) d. Norjan Hedman (Hampden-Sydney); Fall 0:56
Blake Rosenbaum (Ferrum) d. Brandon Lefore (W&L); 8-2
Brandon Lefore (W&L) d. Keaton Gomez (Southern Virginia); 7-0
Tyron Dudley (Greensboro) d. Brandon Lefore (W&L); 7-4
Rexx Hallyburton (W&L) d. Nicholas Price (King's); 13-5
Jake Paulson (Penn State-Behrend) d. Rexx Hallyburton (W&L); 8-5
Rexx Hallyburton (W&L) d. Ronald Wuest (McDaniel); 8-4
Rexx Hallyburton (W&L) d. Matthew Judge (Wilkes); 5-3
Francis Krauss (York) d. Rexx Hallyburton (W&L); 3-1 (OT)
Rexx Hallyburton (W&L) d. Nickolas Bord (Delaware Valley); 4-2 (Fifth-Place Match)
Matt Kaminer (W&L) d. Jacob Justus (Hampden-Sydney); Fall 3:00
Garrett Wesneski (Lycoming) d. Matt Kaminer (W&L); 10-0
Matt Kaminer (W&L) d. Dia Gray (Averett); 8-2
Matt Kaminer (W&L) d. Jared Schell (Messiah); 3-1 (OT)
Matt Kaminer (W&L) d. Marc Isaac (Delaware Valley); 3-1 (OT)
Stephanos Karpontini (York) d. Matt Kaminer (W&L); 4-1