BROCKPORT, N.Y. – Ursinus College wrestling star Collin Wickramaratna placed himself on the precipice of NCAA qualification on the first day of competition at the Mideast Regional, winning a pair of matches to gain the semifinals in the 125-pound bracket.
Wickramaratna finds himself one win away from the regional final and an automatic qualifier to the NCAA championships after dispatching two more opponents on his remarkable rookie tour. The freshman, fresh off winning gold at the Centennial Conference tournament, downed Hunter's Nickolas Karamoshos by 15-7 major decision before grabbing an 8-5 decision over Scranton's Matthew Murawski.
Wickramaratna trailed Murawski 5-4 in the final minute of the third period, but notched a takedown with 22 seconds left, and the two near-fall points put the bout out of reach. The Bears' phenom will face TCNJ's Daniel Ortega in Sunday's semifinals with an NCAA berth on the line.
Senior Anthony Cutrufello is the only other Bear still alive heading into Sunday's finale. The 184-pounder opened with a 5-2 defeat of Centenary's James Valley. He was pinned in the quarterfinals, but scored a 4-2 decision against Morgans Kevin of Cortland to keep his hopes alive. Cutrufello will meet Hunter's Serjey Thomas in his next consolation bout, needing three wins to take third place and an NCAA bid.
Senior Patrick Rowe joined Wickramaratna and Cutrufello in winning his first-round match, posting an 8-5 decision over Scranton's Thomas Conlon to advance to the quarters at 149. He suffered a technical fall at the hands of Stevens' Brett Kaliner before bowing out with a tight 6-4 loss to Elizabethtown's Josh Paisley.
The Mideast Regional resumes Sunday at 10 a.m. with the semifinals.