LEBANON, Tenn. – Steven Sandefer, Tyler Smith and Michael Gonzalez each reached the finals and Zeke Hunt placed third as well, leading the Cumberland wrestling team on Saturday at the Newberry Open in Newberry, S.C.
Sandefer, a junior from Mishawaka, Ind., posted three victories en route to the finals at 149, recording a 5-3 Decision over Blake Holt from The Citadel, a 6-1 Decision versus UNC-Pembroke’s Reggie Allen and a 10-2 Major Decision against North Carolina State’s Walter Fulk. In the finals Sandefer dropped a 7-5 decision versus Chattanooga’s Austin Sams.
Gonzalez, a sophomore from Hesperia, Calif., reached the finals at 157 with three wins as well, starting with a 13-4 Major Decision over Limestone College’s Dustin Martin. Gonzalez pinned Brewton-Parker’s Orlando Medina at 0:21 and won a 5-1 Decision against Anderson University’s Kevin Johnson before losing in the finals to Gardner-Webb’s Kyle Ash by Fall at 1:45.
Smith, a sophomore from Calhoun, Ga., picked up three victories on his way to the finals in the heavyweight division, including a 7-1 Decision over North Carolina’s David Woody, a 7-5 Decision against King College’s Andrew Lutterloh and a 13-8 Decision versus Appalachian State’s Denzel Dejournette. In the finals Smith was pinned at 0:46 by UNC-Pembroke’s Marquin Hill.
Hunt, a junior from Dacula, Ga., won his first two matches at 174 with a 6-2 Decision over Terrence Zaleski and a 12-0 Major Decision versus Newberry College’s Cody Brundage before dropping a 4-2 Decision in the semifinals to Newberry’s Joe Pittman. Hunt recorded a 3-0 Decision against Zaleski in the wrestleback and a 3-1 Decision over North Carolina’s Scott Marmoll in the third-place match.
Sophomore Jake Williams won three times at 141, including a pin at 1:50 against Shorter University’s Joshua Lansdell and by Fall at 4:46 versus Brewton-Parker’s Taylor Bristow. Williams dropped an 11-9 Decision to Limestone’s Devon Jackson before posting a 6-1 Decision over Chattanooga’s Michael Akins in the wrestleback. He lost an 18-6 Major Decision to North Carolina’s Joseph Moon as well.
Junior Jacob Shirley picked up three wins at 165, including pins against Richard Hicks from The Citadel (4:20) and Brewton-Parker’s Anthony Smith (2:00) as well as a 3-0 Decision over Brewton-Parker’s Jake Johnson. Shirley lost a 5-1 Decision in the semifinals to North Carolina’s Ryan Harrington and then was pinned at 2:51 in the wrestleback by Charles Johnson from The Citadel.
Freshman Aric Fernandez tallied three victories as well at 197, registering a 9-2 Decision over Clemson’s Ronald Jacobs before dropping an 11-2 Major Decision to Gardner-Webb’s Boyce Cornwell. In the wrestleback Fernandez posted a 2-1 Decision versus Appalachian State’s Tyler Radford and a 10-0 Major Decision against Belmont-Abbey’s Jason Gulotta before losing by Fall at 1:50 to King College’s Cody Davis.
Cumberland heads to sixth-ranked Campbellsville University for a dual match this Friday at 5 p.m. Central Time and will take part in the NAIA East Region Qualifier in Laurinburg, N.C., on Saturday, February 16.