Cornell 174-pounder Jacob Sherzer overcame the odds and punched his ticket to nationals during two action-packed days at the Lower Midwest Region Wrestling Championships inside the BOS Center.
Sherzer knocked off No. 2 seed Joey Jens of North Central for the second time in the tournament to secure third place and a trip to the NCAA Division III Championships March 10-11 in Roanoke, Va.
Sherzer stamped a strong 5-1 final round Saturday for coach Brent Hamm's Rams, who landed six placewinners and finished sixth with 76 points in a team race that featured seven nationally-ranked programs. It's Cornell's best regional showing since 2016.
The Rams received a fourth-place effort from sophomore Cael McLaren at 184 in his regional debut. Sophomore Landon Card (149) and fifth-year Casey Allen (165) both finished fifth. First-year Jase Van Pelt (125) and junior Treyten Steffen (197) both wound up seventh.
The fifth-year Sherzer (19-8) went 4-1 on his path to becoming Cornell's first NCAA qualifier since 2018, when the Rams advanced three individuals. He sealed his fate with a 4-2 decision over Jens in the third-place match.
Sherzer scored a first-period escape and took a 3-0 lead into the third period. A Jens takedown cut the margin to 3-2 with about 30 seconds to go. Sherzer closed it out with a late escape for the win.
Sherzer also beat Jens, 8-7, in Friday's quarterfinal. On Saturday, Sherzer fell 8-0 in the semifinals to Coe's 11th-ranked LJ Richardson. Sherzer then earned an 11-4 decision over Buena Vista's Garret Bruce in the consolation semifinal.
McLaren (24-14) finished a strong tournament one win short of an NCAA berth, falling 8-0 to Coe's 15th-rated Tristin Westphal in the third-place bout. McLaren posted three wins in wrestlebacks, including a 3-1 decision over Wartburg's 10th-ranked and second-seeded Jordan Bushey in the consolation semifinal.
The No. 2 seed Allen (18-3) closed a terrific career with 90 wins, tying coach Hamm for No. 26 on the program's all-time list. The three-time regional placewinner went 5-2 over the two days and received a forfeit for fifth place.
Card (27-14) also was awarded a medical forfeit for fifth place. He finished the weekend 4-2 for his first regional medal.
Steffen (21-12) placed in the top eight for the second consecutive year. He went 3-2 and won by forfeit for seventh.
Van Pelt (15-13) impressed in his first postseason appearance. He tallied three consolation wins, including a pin in 43 seconds for seventh.
Cornell Placewinners - 125 – Jase Van Pelt (3-2, 7th). 149 – Landon Card (4-2, 5th). 165 – Casey Allen (5-2, 5th). 174 – Jacob Sherzer (4-1, 3rd). 184 – Cael McLaren (4-2, 4th). 197 – Treyten Steffen (3-2, 7th).