By Drew Hughes
The NCAA D2 national tournament has always been a tough tournament to qualify for but this year it was even harder. Due to Covid, the NCAA decided to reduce the number of participants by 27% meaning that while in a normal year there would be 180 qualifiers, this year there are only 132. To put that into perspective, the D1 tournament will still have 330 competitors this year giving them almost 200 more spots then the D2 tournament. Even with this reduced field there will be 4 Indiana natives competing in St. Louis this weekend.
Christian Mejia of McKendree University will be competing in the 125-pound bracket. Mejia comes into the tournament with an 8-1 record and will face 8 seed Cole Jones of MSU Moorhead in the first round. In High School Christian wrestled for Elkhart Memorial where he was a 3-time state placer and a 1-time state runner-up.
Logan Bailey of the University of Indianapolis will be competing in the 149-pound bracket. The true freshman holds a record of 11-2 and will face 8 seed Jacob Ealy of Pitt-Johnstown in the first round. Bailey wrestled for Indianapolis Cathedral in High School where he was a 2-time state placer and a 1-time state runner-up. In addition, Bailey was also an IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason Open champion in 2019.
Dawson Combest of the University of Indianapolis will be competing in the 157-pound bracket. Combest comes into the tournament with a 10-2 record as well as being the 2 seed of the tournament. Combest has a bye first round but will face Caden Moore of Northern St. in the quarterfinals. Combest qualified for the cancelled 2020 tournament last year and was named an NWCA All-American as the 7th seed that year. In High School, Dawson wrestled for Columbus East where he was a 3-time state placer. Like Bailey, Combest was also an IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason Open champion in 2016.
Gleason Mappes of the University of Indianapolis will be competing in the 184-pound bracket. Mappes comes to the tournament with a 6-6 record and will face the 4 seed Dan Fillipek of McKendree first round. Mappes also qualified for the cancelled 2020 national tournament. In High School Mappes wrestled for Center Grove and was a 3-time state placer and a 1-time state runner-up.
The tournament will be on March 12-13 and the brackets can be found on track wrestling. Also, for those that are interested, all of the matched will be streamed live on the NCAA website.