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Getting II Know a DII Program: Newberry

Royal_Isiah

photo courtesy of Newberry athletics

Former Newberry National Champion Cy Wainwright closed out his fourth season as the head coach at his alma mater in 2019-20, with the 2009 NCAA Division II Wrestling 285 Champion leading a Wolves team that qualified four last season. The Wolves, who have sent 76 to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships in 15 years as a DII program, have 39 all-time All-Americans and three National Champions in their history.

In addition to Wainwright, another of those former National Champions are also on the coaching staff in 2010 National Champion Bryant Blanton. Wainwright and Blanton headline the Newberry record book, with one of the Wolves coaches or the other holding marks for wins in a season, wins in a career and career pins. Either Wainwright or Blanton appears in the top 10 in every statistical category kept in the Newberry record book.     

“We are extremely excited about the direction that our program is headed,” Wainwright said. “ Having helped build this program as a student-athlete and to now foster it and maintain its standard of excellence is exciting. We look forward to an exciting future with bringing in more top-notch recruits and even better students.”
Last season the Wolves sent four to the 2020 NCAA Division II National Championships, led by three Regional Champions in  Isiah Royal (141), ZeBrandon Gant (184) and Nick Weldon (197). Damien Penichet also qualified for the NCAA meet, via a third-place finish at 149. Both Royal, the 2019 national runner-up at 141, and Gant earned NWCA All-American status with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. Royal will return to the Newberry lineup in 2020-21 for his senior season.

Joining Royal will be seven additional returning starters, with five National Qualifiers and two returning All-Americans as a part of that group. Gant and Weldon also return for Wainwright, and are joined by 2018 National Qualifier Austin Neal at 133 and 2019 National Qualifier Nick Giantonio at 165. The Wolves also have a big transfer addition, with 2020 Super Region 2 Freshman of the Year Josh Blatt (149) coming over from Belmont Abbey. With the addition of a recruiting class, the Wolves will look to number just more than 40 for the coming season.

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