Trio of Tornado qualify for NCAA National Championships

Photo credit: Mason Thomas
Photo credit: Mason Thomas

PEMBROKE, N.C. – The King University men's wrestling team assembled an incredible performance at the 2020 NCAA Super Region II Championships. Rylee Billings, Elijah Seay and Cade Ridley all qualified for the NCAA Men's Wrestling Championships and out of nine weight classes five wrestlers made the semifinals.


  • At 125 pounds, sophomore Billings grabbed a 7-2 decision over Josh Aquino of Newberry College to advance to the semifinals.
  • In the semifinal he lost a 3-1 lead with a short time to go into sudden victory. He nearly finished on the edge but would, unfortunately, fall to Melvin Rubio of Queens University to drop to the consolation bracket.
  • Billings needed to win out to qualify for the national championships, and in the consolation semifinal, he wrestled extremely smart to prompt a clean 9-4 victory over Mitchell McGhee of Emmanuel College.
  • In the consolation finals he continued the trend, taking a 6-0 victory over Josh Vega of Belmont Abbey College and clinched national qualification.
  • Senior Seay began the day with a sweet first-round technical fall, 21-2 over Seth Bell of Emmanuel at 197 pounds.
  • In the semifinals, he matched up with the eventual champion, Nicolas Kee of UNC Pembroke, falling 10-4.
  • Seay was not not shaken though, as he recovered with a first period pin of Ross Sealby of the University of Mount Olive to set up a methodical 9-5 victory over Lander University's Darius Parker for national qualification.
  • At 285 pounds sophomore Ridley came alive with a huge upset by pin in the first round over Ramon Correa nin 6:31.
  • Ridley fell into the consolation bracket, but like Billings and Seay he was hungry for a national championships berth.
  • He viciously finished his first consolation semifinals match with a first-period pin over Mike Siwiec of Belmont Abbey.
  • Ridley finalized the evening with a classic heavyweight position battle and took the 3-1 decision over Ryan Monk of UNC Pembroke.
  • Sophomore and tri-cities native Elijah Hicks had a close brush with a qualification at 133 pounds, winning his first match handily by score of 8-4 over Lleyton Taylor of Belmont Abbey.
  • However, he fell in the semifinals to Logan Seliga of UNC Pembroke to fall to the consolation bracket and finished with a sixth place finish.
  • At 141 pounds senior Jacob Wynn put a great match together to the eventual champion, Newberry's Isaiah Royal, in the first round, but fell 6-3.
  • Senior Cory Collins won a barn burning 9-6 victory over Nick Giantono of Newberry to advance to the semifinals.
  • The semifinal match was an incredibly exciting match, but Collins fell into the consolation bracket with a 10-6 defeat to Mount Olive's Drew Wiechers.
  • Collins finished sixth after sustaining an injury in the consolation semifinal match.
  • Freshman Alex Mercardo represented the Tornado at 165 pounds and had a tough matchup first round, falling to the eventual champion Greg Hilliad of Belmont Abbey.
  • At 174 pounds Freshman Elijah Davis also had a tough matchup first round, falling to runner-up Noah Curreri of Queens.


125 - Rylee Billings 3-1, 3rd

133 - Elijah Hicks 1-2, 6th

141 - Jacob Wynn 0-2

157 - Cory Collins 1-2, 6th

165 - Alex Mercardo 0-2

174 - Elijah Davis 0-2

197 - Elijah Seay 3-1, 3rd

285 - Cade Ridley 3-1, 3rd


  • March 13-14 the Tornado travel to Sioux Falls, S.D. to compete in the 2020 NCAA Division II Wrestling National Championships.