By Zac Bowers
BUENA VISTA, Va. – Freshman Nico Ramirez became the first Southern Virginia University athlete to qualify for the NCAA Division III National Championship on Saturday after a third-place finish at the NCAA D-III Southeast Regional Tournament.
Ramirez jumped to a quick start with a second period pin over Jared Schell from Messiah College. In the quarterfinals, Ramirez was defeated by eventual champion Garrett Wesneski from Lynchburg College by major decision 15-4.
Despite the setback, Ramirez pinned Mykel Williams (Greensboro College), won by decision against Dylan Otis (Penn Tech) and pinned Gage Gladysz (Thiel College) to enter the bout which would determine third place.
Ramirez then faced off against Stefanos Karpontinis from York College. Ramirez held his opponent to just three points, winning by decision 7-3 to take third in the tournament and qualify for the NCAA national wrestling tournament.
"Nico has improved every match he has wrestled in," said head wrestling coach Logan Davis. "He is extremely teachable and his positive attitude has really helped him achieve the success he has seen."
Ramirez has recorded 17 wins and only seven losses during the 2017-18 season. Of his 17 wins, eight were pins including one against a top-30 wrestler.
"The past weekend was an amazing experience as a coach," commented Davis. "For a freshman to be the first NCAA qualifier in both program and school history is awesome. He really put himself, our program, and our school on the national radar."
Ramirez will compete in the NCAA DIII National Wrestling Tournament on March 9 and 10 in Cleveland, Ohio.