Choinski Gains Another NCAA Championship Appearance

Mark Choinski placed third at the Upper Midwest Regional to earn his third national championship visit.
Mark Choinski placed third at the Upper Midwest Regional to earn his third national championship visit.

UW-Oshkosh's Mark Choinski will have an opportunity to earn a third All-America award following his third-place finish in the 165-pound weight class at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Upper Midwest Wrestling Regional held Friday and Saturday (Feb. 22-23) in Eau Claire.

Choinski, a senior, won four of five matches during the regional to raise his season record to 32-3 (12 pins) and career mark to 97-18 (30 pins). His regional victories, all by fall, included a pin in 6:03 of UW-La Crosse's Jackson Schoen in their third-place match.

The top three finishers in each of the 10 regional weight classes received berths into the NCAA Division III Championship that will be held March 8-9 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Va.

Choinski began his regional competition with pins of Elmhurst College's (Ill.) Howie Olson and UW-Stevens Point's Jordan Weinzetl in 2:31 and 6:37, respectively. Choinski then lost a 14-6 decision to UW-Whitewater's Nicholas Bonomo before winning by fall in 4:26 over Concordia College's (Minn.) Travis Deegan.

Choinski's third-place victory gained a little revenge back as Schoen won by fall in 3:15 over him during their title bout at the WIAC Championship held Feb. 8.

UW-Oshkosh had five other place winners at this year's Upper Midwest Regional – fourth-place Beau Yineman at 197 pounds; fifth-place Jordan Lemcke and AJ Schoenfuss at 285 and 125, respectively; seventh-place Colten Cashmore at 184; and eighth-place Corey Knudsen at 149.

Like Choinski, Yineman and Lemcke also advanced to the semifinals before suffering their first regional defeat. 

Yineman opened with a fall of Pacific University's (Ore.) Ian Morford in 2:15 and a 14-2 win over UW-Eau Claire's James Huntley. He then lost a 9-3 decision to UW-Whitewater's Riley Kauzlaric and recorded a 3-1 sudden-victory over UW-Stevens Point's Jerry Lipke. Yineman lost his third-place match by a 6-0 score to Luke Dodd of Saint John's University (Minn.).

Lemcke began his schedule with a 4-1 win over Elmhurst College's (Ill.) Karim Fuentes and a 5-2 tie-breaking victory over University of Chicago's (Ill.,) Patrick Mulkerin. He then lost results of 15-0 to eventual champion Konrad Ernst of UW-La Crosse and 3-2 to Noah Carter of Concordia College before edging Mulkerin, 11-10, in their fifth-place match.

Schoenfuss needed to wrestle six times for his finish. He defeated Joshua Clark of Saint John's University, 18-0, in his opener before losing a 6-4 decision to Jake Nohre of Concordia College. Schoenfuss bounced back from his setback with a 9-7 win over Pacific University's Landon Obra-Nakata and a fall of Elmhurst College's Zach McCullough in 3:31 before losing a 7-3 verdict to UW-La Crosse's Sawyer Sarbacker. Schoenfuss took fifth-place with his pin of Wheaton College's Carlos Fuentez in 1:18.

Cashmore answered an 11-1 loss to University of Chicago's Kyle Peisker in his opener with two wins in his next three bouts. He edged Milwaukee School of Engineering's Ryan Snyder, 4-3, lost a 3-0 score to UW-Platteville's Grant Wedepohl and took seventh place on a medical forfeit issued by Elmhurst College's Mark Miller.

Knudsen won two of his first three bouts before losing consecutive falls to UW-Stevens Point's Alex Heiden in 3:44 and UW-Eau Claire's David Dudych in 1:41. Knudsen opened with a 17-2 win over Wheaton College's Andrew Harrell, a 13-4 loss to UW-La Crosse's Logan Schlough and a 16-3 triumph over Milwaukee School of Engineering's Jack Rathburn.

The Titans also had Zach McDowell at 133 pounds, Wesam Alabed at 141, Muzi Sitshela at 157 and Patrick Reilly at 174 each tally 1-2 records. The lone wins by McDowell and Alabed were by fall.

Defending champion Augsburg University (Minn.) won the 17-team regional with 191 points. The 12-time national champion Auggies were followed by second-place UW-La Crosse with 151 points, third-place UW-Whitewater with 146, fourth-place UW-Stevens Point with 985, fifth-place University of Chicago with 90 and sixth-place UW-Oshkosh with 81. The Titans finished ninth at last year's regional with 53.5 points.

UW-Oshkosh and its WIAC colleagues will send 14 wrestlers to this year's NCAA Championship, including regional champions Mike Tortorice (125 pounds), Hazen Rice (133) and Nick Stencel (184) from UW-Whitewater and Ernst (285) from UW-La Crosse.  

NCAA Division III Upper Midwest Wrestling Regional • Host Website

NCAA Division III Wrestling Championship • Host Website

NCAA Division III Wrestling • Website