Coming into this year's NCAA Division II Super Region II tournament, Ashland University's wrestling team was ranked fifth, and five Eagles were ranked in the top four at their respective weight classes.
Proving that rankings aren't always what they seem, six Ashland wrestlers qualified for the 2015 national tournament, and the Eagles finished third in the team standings following the second and final day of the super regional tournament on Saturday (Feb. 28) in Pembroke, N.C.
The top four placers in each weight class qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships, March 13-14 in St. Louis, Mo.
Junior Michael Labry, the top-ranked wrestler in the super region and ranked No. 2 in the country at 133 pounds, won his second consecutive super regional championship and earned the super region's Wrestler of the Year award. He went 4-0 over the weekend, winning the title in a 3-1 decision over Indianapolis' Nick Crume.
Labry, a two-time All-American, will make it 3-for-3 in nationals appearances, and go into nationals with a 39-1 record.
Fickel will go to nationals for the second year in a row after his best super regional finish. He went 3-1 at the super regionals, and is 17-6 on the season.
Beam and Schaefer each will go to the national meet for the first time. Beam was 3-1 at 157, and is 14-10 this season. Schaefer advanced on a bye in the first round then went 2-1 at 184, and is 27-10 in 2014-15.
Sophomore Luke Cramer placed third at 174, and will make his first trip to nationals. He was 5-1 on the weekend, winning four straight consolation matches to take third, and is 18-9 this season.
Sophomore Brandon O'Neill also will go to nationals for the first time after he finished fourth at 197. O'Neill was 3-2 at the super regional, and is 26-8 going into nationals.
The Eagles were third as a team with 88 points. Newberry won the team super regional title with 99 points, followed by Lake Erie with 97.5.