John Carroll Wrestling’s historic performance sends four wrestlers to the NCAA Championship


JCU Sports Information Department

Andrew Perelka competing this weekend in Adrian Michigan during the NCAA DIII Central Regional Championships

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

After a phenomenal weekend of competition at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Central Regional Championships, the John Carroll Wrestling team will send four athletes to the NCAA DIII Championship Tournament in Iowa. 

Andrew Perelka ‘22, Luke Reicosky ‘22, Patrick McGraw ‘23 and Daniel Devera ‘25 contributed immensely to the Blue Streaks’ third place finish as they each qualified for nationals. 

The Blue and Gold also had five regional placers, Kyle Murray ‘22, Jarrod Brezovec ‘21, Kale Buckiso ‘25, Jesse Kanatzar ‘24 and fifth-year Connor Bizjak, who added to the success of the weekend. 

“A third-place finish is huge for this team. It is the best we’ve ever done at the regional tournament, which indicates a lot of progress,” said McGraw. “We have a fantastic base to build off of. The future is bright for John Carroll wrestling.”

NCAA Qualifiers

Perelka won his first three contests of the weekend, sending him to the 133 first place match, where he fell 5-3 against David Massey from the University of Mount Union. Luckily, his 10-3 victory in the semifinals earned him a ticket to nationals.

“After 700+ days of wanting a chance to make it back to nationals, it felt great to qualify again,” said Perelka. “It felt great to compete and make it, but the work isn’t done yet. I have a goal to be on top of the podium in 2 weeks at nationals.”

Scoring 15 points with a second-place finish in the 157 weight class, Reicosky will make the trip to Iowa for the championships as well. He worked his way through the first two matches with ease, with decisive wins of 11-4 and 11-3. 

Ryan Whitten from Otterbein University gave Reicosky a harder time in the semifinals match, but he pushed through to earn a 3-2 win, sending him to the championship match, where he lost by medical forfeit. 

The lone region champion for the Blue and Gold, McGraw remained undefeated throughout the weekend as he took on many familiar opponents. 

“My mindset is largely based on a quote from former JCU coach Chuck Angelo. The quote was ‘just relax and you’ll do your best.’ I went out on the mat feeling very free, relaxed, and composed,” said McGraw when speaking about the championship match. “I tried to remember that all the hard work was already done and that I could trust my training and hard work. At the end of the day, I put 100% effort on the mat and left the rest in God’s hands.”

Freshman standout Devera highlighted his bright future at John Carroll with a second place finish at regionals. 

Devera had a challenging semifinals match against Donovan Palmer from Baldwin Wallace University, but the Blue Streak proved to be determined as he ended that match with a 5-3 decision victory. 

Similar to Reciosky, Devera conceded the championship match with a medical forfeit, but with a definite spot in the championships in Iowa. 

Over the next week, John Carroll’s four national qualifiers will turn their attention to the upcoming NCAA tournament, while the remainder of the Blue Streak Wrestling squad will support their teammates as the off season begins. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of the team. I’ve only been on the team for a year, but I’ve seen the hard work we’ve all put in to be here,” said Devera. “This is my family away from my home. I absolutely love these guys and what they’ve accomplished this year.”

The NCAA DIII Championship Tournament will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12.