Hillhouse in final, five ThunderWolves still alive for nationals
Pack has chance to send most wrestlers to nationals since 2001.
HAYS, Kan. (GoThunderWolves.com - Feb. 25, 2012) - CSU-Pueblo's wrestling team had a great first day of competition at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference/NCAA West Regional Championships Saturday as five ThunderWolves were still alive for a national tournament berth and one, 133-pounder Jesse Hillhouse (Jr., Casper, Wyo.), advanced all the way to the championship match.
Hillhouse, the top seed at 133, rolled through his competition en route to the championship berth and subsequent berth to the national tournament, the only berth tied up by a ThunderWolf thus far. He scored two major decision wins over Chadron State's Dustin Stodola and New Mexico Highlands' Edward Zuckerman, and followed it up with a third period pin of San Francisco State's Julian Perez to earn his way into the championship match.
Sunday, he will take on Adams State's Ryan Fillingame, which he had gone 1-1 against so far this season, but defeated during the RMAC dual season.
A quartet of ThunderWolves are assured of at least placing in the top six and have a chance to qualify for nationals.
Tim Urenda (Fr., Pueblo, Colo.) at 125 pounds, Nick Mamalis (Jr., Green River, Wyo.) at 141 pounds, Trevor Grant (So., Winnemucca, Nev.) at 174 pounds and Adam Carey (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) at 184 pounds have each qualified for the consolation semifinals. Since this tournament recognizes a "true fourth place" for national qualification purposes, a win in the consolation semifinal doesn't necessarily lock up a national tournament berth. If the fourth-place finisher had not yet faced the fifth-place finisher, they will square off with a national tournament berth on the line.
On paper, Mamalis faces the toughest road of the remaining quartet - he must face Colorado Mesa's James Martinez - the 8th-ranked 141 pounder in the nation. Mamalis did, however, defeat Martinez by technical fall during the dual season.
No other ThunderWolves can potentially face nationally ranked wrestlers, though Grant did come close to a huge upset in the semifinal match in the winners' bracket, narrowly losing to the fifth-ranked 174-pounder in the nation, Grand Canyon Victor Carazo, by a 3-2 decision.
The consolation rounds will begin at 11 a.m. MST Sunday, with the championship matches scheduled for 4 p.m. For information on viewing the matches on a free live video feed, visit http://www.gothunderwolves.com/sports/wrest/gameday.