LEBANON, Tenn. – Five Cumberland wrestlers – seniors Nate Croley, Kyle Delaune, Orlando Nawade and Sammy Rosario along with junior Sean Nguyen – all earned automatic or received at-large berths to the 60th Annual NAIA Championships, as announced by the national office late Tuesday.
Croley was the only one of the five to garner an automatic berth, placing second at 157 in last weekend’s NAIA East Qualifier in Bowling Green, Ky. The Pigeon Forge, Tenn., native won 13 straight bouts and 17-of-19 before losing a 5-2 Decision in the finals.
Delaune finished fourth in last weekend’s East Qualifier at 184, posting a 3-2 mark in the event. The New Orleans, La., native earned one of the regional wildcards, decided on by coaches after Saturday’s tournament. He has registered a 20-10 overall mark this academic year.
Rosario also placed fourth in the East Qualifier at 133 with a 3-2 mark, dropping his final bout by Medical Forfeit. The Cartersville, Ga., native posted 17 wins in 19 matches before last weekend. He also received one of five regional wildcards and carries a 27-6 overall record this season.
Nawade tallied a 4-2 mark in the East Qualifier, finishing fifth at 174. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native earned one of 30 national wildcards with his overall record of 23-15, with 10 of his 15 losses against ranked opponents.
Nguyen also received one of the national wildcards after placing fifth at 125 in the East Qualifier with a 3-2 mark. The Spring Hill, Fla., native compiled an overall record of 14-9, all the second semester.
At least one Cumberland wrestler has earned All-America honors in 11 of the last 13 seasons, including each of the last four years. Croley is the only returning All-American for the Phoenix.
The 60th Annual NAIA Championships are set for March 3-4 in Topeka, Kan.