ITHACA, N.Y. - With a win in the semifinals of the 285-pound bracket, senior Keegan Connelly (Schwenksville, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) punched his ticket to the 2020 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championship, as the senior led the Royals on the final day of the NCAA Mideast Regionals at Ithaca College on Sunday.
Overall, Scranton posted their highest finish ever as a team in the event, placing ninth with 59.5 total points on the weekend. Here are some highlights from the day in Ithaca.
Connelly became the 13th wrestler in program history to qualify for an NCAA Championship with a thrilling 3-2 win by decision over Cortland's Trentyn Rupert. In the finals at 285, Connelly had a 15-match winning streak snapped by Richard Knapp of Brockport, who knocked off the senior by decision, 3-2.
Despite the second place finish, Connelly will head to the 2020 NCAA Division III Championship, which will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Mar. 13 and 14. It marks the second straight season that the Royals will send a wrestler to the national stage, as Dan D'Agostini became the first Scranton wrestler to qualify since 2007 last season.
Elsewhere, sophomore Matthew Murawski (Harrington Park, N.J./Northern Valley - Old Tappan) narrowly missed out on joining Connelly in Iowa in a few weeks, as he fell in the third place bout at 125 to Ithaca's Logan Ninos, 7-0. Finishing fourth, Murawski won two bouts to get to the third place final, taking down Paul Wehr of Hunter (by pinfall at 1:43) and Terry Adams of Ursinus (by decision, 9-5).
At 141 pounds, freshman Anthony Clarizio (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) finished his season taking fifth in the bracket. In the semifinals, Clarizio fell to Eli Sims of Brockport by decision (7-1) and in the third place bracket, he lost to Ahken Chu of Oneonta (by decision, 8-2), but bounced back in the fifth-place bout to beat Tito Colum of Ithaca (by pinfall in 2:27). The pinfall win for Clarizio was historic, as it was his 19th of the year, which puts him in a tie with Michael Granchamp (1998-99) for most pinfall victories in a season, all-time.
At 174 pounds, junior William Laughlin (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) registered a seventh place finish, taking his final bout of the year over Brian Jamison of Muhlenberg by decision, 7-1. Earlier in the day, Laughlin fell to Joe Lupisella of RIT, 4-2. Meanwhile, sophomore Aidan McNally (Scranton, Pa./Scranton) placed eighth at 184 pounds to round out the top finishers for Scranton.
Fans are reminded to stay tuned to athletics.scranton.edu for more on Keegan Connelly's journey to the NCAA Division III Championship over the next few weeks.