Coming off of an almost seven month break from competition, sophomores Andrew Alirez and Mosha Schwartz put the Bears on the map at the 2020 Senior Nationals tournament at Xtream Arena. Alirez took first in the 65 kg Men’s Freestyle bracket and was awarded Outstanding Wrestler, while Schwartz took home second in the 60 kg Men’s Greco-Roman bracket.
“We are so proud of Mosha and Andrew’s performances this weekend,” Coach Troy Nickerson said. “Both have put in a ton of work these past six weeks and it showed in their results.”
Alirez pulled off the major upset of the tournament when he took down No. 1 Joseph McKenna of the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club 6-4 in the Quarterfinals.
“Ultimately Boo showed up and executed the way we’ve always known he was capable of,” Coach Michael Moreno said. “He’s going to have to continue to improve, there’s a target on his back now which I’m sure is just fine with him. I have no doubts that he’ll continue to hone those intangibles as he develops into a full blown Olympic team contender.”
Alirez went on to beat Yahya Thomas of the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club 7-1 in the semifinals and won the first place bout over Evan Henderson 5-1.
He entered the competition as the No. 9 seed and dominated the 65 kg Men’s Freestyle bracket leading up to the quarterfinals. Alirez started with two 10-0 victories over both
Lawrence Saenz of the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, and Joshua Heil of the Campbell Wrestling Club. He then went on to beat No. 8 seed McKee 11-5 in the Round of 16.
“For Andrew to win a senior level national tournament when he is still junior age group eligible is amazing. We have been waiting for him to have that break-out performance and it came this week- end.” Nickerson said.
“UNC did great. We continue to prove that this program has everything you need to win,” Alirez said. “Things went my way this weekend, [and I] did what I had to do no matter the circumstance.”
No. 7 seed Schwartz represented the Bears in the 60 kg Men’s Greco-Roman bracket. He pulled off his own upset of the tournament in the quarterfinals, taking down No. 2 Randon Miranda of the New York Athletic Club. Schwartz beat Miranda 8-7.
Schwartz then went on to defeat Dylan Koontz of the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club 5-1 to punch his ticket to the finals. Schwartz fell short 5-3 in the finals to Alex Thomsen of the Nebraska Wrestling Training Center.
“These two have done a great job helping us build UNC into a household name in college wrestling.” Nickerson said. “There is more work to be done, however, these two have put us a little further down the road this weekend.”
This story originally ran on the UNC Bears athletics website (uncbears.com).