Two Roadrunners qualify for NCAA Nationals

Senior Matt Williams wrestles in the Roadrunner Open in the Icardo Center on Sunday, Nov. 19. Williams is currently ranked 10th in the nation in the 197 weight division according to Photo by Simer Khurana/ The Runner

Brad Meyer


This past Sunday ,Feb. 25, the Roadrunner wrestling team traveled to Corvallis, Oregon for the Pac-12 Championships. The Roadrunners took third in the competition and two of our very own student-athletes, Matt Williams (197) and Sergio Mendez (125), have guaranteed themselves a spot in the NCAA Championships.

Coleman Hammond (157), Sean Nickel (133), Russell Rholfing (141) and Lorenzo De La Riva (165) could also potentially be on their way to the NCAA Championship if all goes well during the selection show that will be broadcasted on, March 7, at 3 p.m.

Matt Williams fought his way to the championship round, and faced Oregon State’s Corey Griego, the defending champion in the 197-pound weight class. Williams faced off against Griego earlier in the season and lost a nail-biter 11-10. This time around Griego would again take the decision, final score being 11-5.  Williams, with his runner up finish will head to the NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sergio Mendez (125) also earned himself a guaranteed trip to Cleveland with his third-place finish. After a pin against Cal Poly’s Yoshiko Funakoshi, Mendez faced Arizona State’s Ryan Millhoff in the semifinals. Mendez lost to Millhoff by decision but finished the tournament strong with a pin over Stanford’s Gabe Townsell.

At 133, Sean Nickell also finished with a strong third place finish taking the victory over Oregon State’s Devan Turner with a 6-3 decision. However, the NCAA only awarded two automatic qualifiers to the Pac-12 for the 133 pound weight class. Nickell was ranked No. 29 according to the NCAA RPI so he will have to wait till March 7, to see if he will be headed to Cleveland.

Rholfing (141) will also be looking to the NCAA selection show to see whether or not he will be invited to Cleveland to compete in the NCAA Championship. Rholfing made it to the finals and faced Cal Poly’s Colt Schilling. The decision and the Pac-12 title went to Schilling. Going into the Pac-12 Championships, Rohlfing was ranked No. 25 according to the NCAA RPI.

Lorenzo De La Riva (165) is in the same situation as Rholfing. Like Rholfing, De La Riva also made it to the finals but finished runner-up to Arizona State’s Anthony Valencia.

In the 157-pound weight class three NCAA bids were allocated to the Pac-12 and Coleman Hammond who was in contention for a third place finish. Hammond did not manage to come away with the victory so he too will see if he made the March 7 selection show.

The NCAA Championships take place March 15-17 in Cleveland, Ohio at Quicken Loans Arena.