BUIES CREEK, N.C. – SIUE's David Devine won the 285-pound weight class Saturday at the Southern Conference Championships to become the first SIUE wrestler of the Division I era to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Devine was the surprise of the SoCon Tournament. Seeded fifth to start the event, Devine was the lowest seed to advance to the finals in any weight class.
"This is my last chance to make a name for myself," said Devine.
After winning the quarterfinal round 3-2 over fourth-seeded Denzel Dejournette of Appalachian State, he upset top-seeded Dawson Peck of Chattanooga 3-1 in the first sudden victory period. He then dispatched Campbell's Eloheim Palma, the No. 2 seed, 4-0 in the finals.
"David wrestled great the whole tournament," said SIUE Head Coach Jeremy Spates.
Devine will next compete at the national championships set for March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
"I'm just happy I'm going," said Devine, "but it would be nice to be an All-American."
As a team, SIUE finished sixth with 30.5 points. Chattanooga won its fourth straight SoCon team title with 89 points, outdistancing The Citadel by 10.5 points.
SIUE's Jake Residori suffered a disappointing final match at 174 pounds. Residori was 30 seconds into the championship match when he injured his left elbow against Chattanooga's Levi Clemons and would leave the match on an injury default.
Senior Josh Wood matched his finish from a year ago with third place at 197 pounds. He defeated Gardner-Webb's Boyce Cornwell 5-2 in the third-place match.
"He had a tough loss in the semifinals," said Spates. "I know that wasn't Josh's goal, but for him to go out having his hand raised is nice."
SoCon Championship Results for SIUE
125 - Dakota Leach
Quarterfinal - Cortez Starkes (Gardner-Webb) def. Dakota Leach (SIUE), 9-3
Cons. Round 1 - Dalton Henderson (VMI) def. Dakota Leach (SIUE), 5-3
133 - Patrick Myers
Quarterfinal - Drew Walker (Campbell) pinned Patrick Myers (SIUE), 2:39
Cons. Round 1 - Robbie Golde (Gardner-Webb) def. Patrick Myers (SIUE), 5-3
141 - John Petrov
Quarterfinal - John Petrov (SIUE) def. Michael Dahlstrom (Campbell), 3-1
Semifinal - Mike Pongracz (Chattanooga) def. John Petrov (SIUE), 3-0
Cons. Semi - Ryan Mosley (Gardner-Webb) won by TF over John Petrov (SIUE), TF-1.5 6:58 (16-0)
149 - Karsten Van Velsor
Quarterfinal - Dyllan Cottrell (Appalachian State) def. Karsten Van Velsor (SIUE), 14-4
Cons. Round 1 - Shabaka Johns (VMI) def. Karsten Van Velsor (SIUE), 8-3
157 - Logun Taylor
Quarterfinal - Alex Hudson (Chattanooga) won by TF over Logun Taylor (SIUE), TF-1.5 2:30 (17-0)
Cons. Round 1 - Cole Graves (Gardner-Webb) 1-2 def. Logun Taylor (SIUE), 7-4
165 - Matt Lester
Quarterfinal - Matt Lester (SIUE) def. Paul Duggan (Campbell), 1-0
Semifinal - Corey Mock (Chattanooga) def. Matt Lester (SIUE), 13-0
Cons. Semi - Austin Trott (Gardner-Webb) def. Matt Lester (SIUE), 5-0
174 - Jake Residori
Quarterfinal - Jake Residori (SIUE) def. Brett Stein (Gardner-Webb), 12-7
Semifinal - Jake Residori (SIUE) def. Kenneth Radford (The Citadel), 6-5
1st Place Match - Levi Clemons (Chattanooga) 3-0 won by injury default over Jake Residori (SIUE), 0:30
184 - Deshoun White
Quarterfinal - Ville Heino (Campbell) def. Deshoun White (SIUE), 2-1
Cons. Round 1 - Deshoun White (SIUE) received a bye
Cons. Semi - John Duane (The Citadel) def. Deshoun White (SIUE), 3-2
197 - Josh Wood
Quarterfinal - Josh Wood (SIUE) pinned Boyce Cornwell (Gardner-Webb), 4:34
Semifinal - Marshall Haas (The Citadel) def. Josh Wood (SIUE), 6-2
Cons. Semi - Josh Wood (SIUE) won in sudden victory - 1 over Ian Solcz (Davidson), SV-1 3-1
3rd Place Match - Josh Wood (SIUE) def. Boyce Cornwell (Gardner-Webb), 5-2
285 - David Devine
Quarterfinal - David Devine (SIUE) def. Denzel Dejournette (Appalachian State), 3-2
Semifinal - David Devine (SIUE) won in sudden victory - 1 over Dawson Peck (Chattanooga), SV-1 3-1
1st Place Match - David Devine (SIUE) def. Eloheim Palma (Campbell), 4-0