photo courtesy of Gannon athletics
2021 Super Regional I Preview
Where: Mercyhurst University
Brackets (when available): TrackWrestling
2020 Champions - University of Pitt-Johnstown
American International University
Fairmont State University
#9 Gannon University
#15 Mercyhurst University
#23 University of Pitt-Johnstown
Is this the season that finally sees the reign of Pat Pecora and the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown come to an end? It could be the best shot, the Mountain Cats enter the tournament, having wrestled zero matches and without having been tested. I worry about how they will handle the adversity that will surely come their way in a postseason tournament. They still come in ranked 23rd in the nation, but that may not be enough to remain the best in the east. They will face a top-10 Gannon University squad that was runner-up in this Super Regional a year ago. And the always tough Mercyhurst will be trophy hunting as well; Mike Wehler’s team is led by senior heavyweight Jacob Robb. 55 athletes will compete for just 15 national qualifier spots. Win and in you are in, anything else and you will be at the mercy of the voting coaches. Super Regional I was allocated just five additional qualifiers, which means making it to the finals does not guarantee you a trip to St Louis.
How Division II expects coaches to judge runner-ups’ worthiness who may only have two matches, I do not know. But that could be what happens and the team race ramifications at the national tournament will be impacted. Pitt-Johnstown is not the only team that has not been able to compete yet this season, Rich Hasenfus of American International University returns senior All-American JoJo Gonzalez, but his squad has not had a single competition yet. True second will be contested at this tournament; athletes who finish second and third place will do battle if they did not meet head-to-head earlier in the day. Even making the finals is not a guarantee of a shot at a wildcard, as ending your day with two straight losses means there is no way you make the trip to St Louis. This may be the smallest of the regionals, but it will be big on talent and heartbreak. I understand why the allocations changes were made, but I also understand that they are laughable in their ridiculousness. Good luck athletes, this time of year, everyone needs a little of it.
Follow along as I take a look at every weight and make my predictions for Top Three and who I think will be 15 athletes headed to the national championship.
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