MINNEAPOLIS – Senior Austin Bellile of the MSOE wrestling team put on a dominant performance with three falls in a minute or less to win the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional Championship and earn a return qualification to the NCAA Championships Friday and Saturday at the regional championships.
Bellile was the No. 1 seed in the bracket at 285 pounds and scored two quick falls on Friday. He came back to score a decision victory in the semifinals in his only match that went the distance. Then, It took him just 49 seconds to secure a fall and claim the championship.
The NCAA Championships are March 9-10 in Cleveland, Ohio. Last season, Bellile went 1-2 at the national meet and finished one win out of All-American honors.
Freshman Helton Vandenbush also advanced to the championship semifinals at 174 pounds on Friday. He ended up winning the fifth-place match with a one in three Saturday bouts.
The Raiders finished 12th out of 17 teams in the team standings with 32.5 team points.
On Friday, Bellile opened the competition with a win by fall in just 1:00. He then surpassed that with a pin in just 0:38 his next match. After Saturday's decision started his day, he was pitted against UW-Platteville's D'Andre Johnson, WIAC runner-up and an honorable mention in D3wrestle.com's national rankings at the weight. They faced off for the second time this season and Bellile emerged victorious for the second time.
Vandenbush started quickly in the first session, starting the meet with a 17-1 technical fall. He then ground out a 7-5 sudden victory to advance to the semifinals. On Saturday, he suffered his first loss against the No. 1 seed in the semifinals. His next outing was a loss by pin, sending him to the fifth-place match. In that bout, he secured a 3-2 win to capture fifth place. The win was also his 31st of the season, tying Bellile's (2013-14) program record for wins by a freshman.
MSOE wrestlers scored two more wins on Friday in junior Miro Stojanovic at 197 pounds and freshman Drew Matticks at 165 pounds. Both wrestlers rebounded from opening losses to capture victories in the consolation bracket. For Stojanovic, it was a 6-4 sudden victory. Matticks' win came in the form of a 3-1 victory.