YORK, Pa. – After putting together a record-setting 2012 campaign, the York College wrestling team sends four individuals to the NCAA Championships, the most since the 2005-2006 squad which also sent four wrestlers and finished fifth in the nation. The Spartans, currently ranked #10, send Alex Martocello, Chris Albright, Matt Heisey, and George Saliba to the national tournament. Talented and experienced, three of the four are seniors while the lone junior, Albright, was an All-American last season. As a group, these four sport a combined 2012 record of 116-16 and will each look to vie for All-American accolades.
"[This] was and is a special season," Spartan head coach Tom Kessler, who recorded his 300th career victory during the 2011-12 campaign, said. "Three great leaders and captains in Heisey, Martocello, and Saliba … and no surprise all are competing this weekend at the National Tournament. Albright, only a junior and ranked in the top two of the country at 141. Great season in breaking the school record for wins with 25.
"[This] could be a special end of the season," Kessler continued. How sweet would it be to have tow YCP wrestlers in the finals? Great group of guys all who meet the theme of hard work, putting in the extras and committed to being the best they can be!"
Martocello returns to the NCAA Championships after capturing an All-American honor in his first trip to the national tournament last season. In 2011, Martocello finished fourth at 184 pounds as he put together a 4-2 mark at the Championships. This season, Martocello received a wild card berth and is the fourth seed at 184 pounds. The senior will look to be York's third two-time All-American, according to Coach Kessler. Beginning the tournament with an impressive 30-2 record, he spent most of the season ranked second in Division III at 184 pounds and will look to have a great 2012 Championships.
"From a backup freshman to one of the best wrestlers in the nation," Coach Kessler said of Martocello. "[He] was ranked # 1 for part of this season and was the highest placer at national tournament last year for the Metropolitan Conference. [Alex] has done the extras as he now looks to win a National title."
Albright also makes his second appearance at the NCAA Championships, garnering his first All-American accolade after finishing fifth last season. The talented junior won the 2012 Metropolitan Conference title at 141 pounds to gain an automatic berth into the national tournament. Albright goes in with a record of 24-2 and is seeded third overall as he looks to become another two-time All-American.
"When is he on he can beat anyone," Coach Kessler said. "[He] is looking to make the finals this season."
Heisey, the 2012 Metro Conference 174-pound champion, makes his first trip to the NCAA Championships. A senior who has worked exceptionally hard on the mat and in the classroom throughout his career, Heisey sports a 28-8 record this season. Heisey will look to end his career on a strong note and become an All-American in his final campaign.
"[Heisey] has come a long, long way since his freshman year," Coach Kessler said. "Being rewarded with all the hard work he put in as a Metropolitan Champion … this year. Stay tuned for All-American."
Saliba also makes his first showing at the NCAA Championships after receiving a wild card berth at 285 pounds, his first season at that weight. The senior has put together an exceptional campaign as he currently sits at 34-4 and finished second at the Metropolitan Conference Championships. A wrestler who grinds out wins, Saliba will look to garner his first All-American honor at the 2012 national tournament.
"[Saliba] moved up a weight this season and went undefeated for nearly three months," Coach Kessler said. "[He has] over 50 wins the past two seasons. Making his first and well-deserved trip to the Big Show and hoping to come home an All-American for York College."
With such a talented an experienced group heading to nationals, the Spartans could have a fantastic tournament. The NCAA Championships begins Friday morning at the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse at 11:00 am and finish with the finals on Saturday evening. Follow the Spartans during the weekend online at the Brackets, Live Stats, Live Video, and Highlights link below.