VIENNA, W.Va. – Chase Long is the first Ohio Valley University (OVU) wrestler in the program’s three-year history to make the NCAA DII National Tournament. Long recently placed second at the NCAA DII Super Region I Tournament in the 197 lb. weight class, which makes him an automatic qualifier for Nationals.
Long is a junior at OVU and one of head coach Pat Sole’s original recruits for the Fighting Scots wrestling team. He came to OVU from Buckhannon, W.Va., where he wrestled at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
Long had a bye for the first round of the DII Super Region tournament allowing him to go into the quarter finals well rested. There he faced Pitt-Johnstown’s Nikos Garofola, the #4 seed that he defeated in a 4-2 decision. In his semifinal match, Long was up against the #1 seed in the region, Tyson Searer of East Stroudsburg University, whom he defeated in a close 3-2 decision. In the finals match of the tournament, Long took on Vinny Campanile of Kutztown University. Long came up short in a 4-0 decision.
OVU Head Coach Pat Sole had a lot to say about Long and his accomplishments. “What a blessing it is to have an NCAA national qualifier. Words cannot describe how important this is to a new program. For a collegiate wrestling coach progress is measured many ways, but for NCAA coaches, national qualifiers and potential All-Americans are at the top of the list. This is quite an honor for Chase, OVU and the OVU wrestling program to have an individual make it this far. When an athlete like Chase is in your program people, coaches, and everyone in the wrestling world take notice.”
Long has matured and is making his mark in competition this year. He placed in the Mid-West Classic in Indianapolis, Ind., and his confidence skyrocketed. Placing at that tournament showed he could be a National qualifier and a potential All-American.
Long has had wins and close matches against ranked contenders all year. A few weeks ago, he came down with some skin ailments that left him sidelined very sick and training on his own. He was able to persevere through it all.
One of Long's highlight matches of the year came at the East Coast Duels in January at Newberry University against #1 ranked region contender, Tyson Searer of East Stroudsburg University. Long took him into double overtime losing in the last second. Ironically, four weeks later Long met Searer again in the semifinals at the NCAA DII Super Region I.
Coach Sole described the scene, “If one wants to experience real intensity, they should have been there. It was awesome to see him reach a milestone and upset the number one seed and third nationally ranked DII wrestler.”
Long lost to Vinny Campinelle from Kutztown in the finals by a close decision. He is now focused for nationals knowing he could run into these opponents again, as well as others that have made it from other regions. His opportunity to become OVU’s first All-American rides on whether or not he can place in the top eight at the event.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to represent OVU at the NCAA DII National Tournament,” Long says. “One of my main goals from the moment I arrived at OVU was to be the first wrestler to make it to the national tournament.”
“The success Chase Long is having at this level is not only deserved, it’s been earned through years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance,” says Coach Sole. “Chase Long was one of my first recruits for OVU wrestling. I knew then the potential as an athlete that Chase had was there but I didn't know I was getting the whole package. As an honor student, Student Athlete Advisory Committee President, team captain, etc., he has my highest respect and honor. He has brought honor and dignity to our sport, our program and OVU.”
Sole continued, “As a wrestling coach for 25 plus years I've been blessed to coach some unique individuals. Chase is what every coach dreams of having as a student-athlete. Chase's semifinal match is probably one of the most emotional wins I've ever experienced as a coach. I'm not one to talk about stuff like this but those kinds of moments are what makes coaching gratifying enough to keep coming back. Chase has made OVU and NCAA wrestling history by being the OVU wrestling program’s first NCAA National qualifier.”
Ohio Valley University competes in the NCAA Division II in men's baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer and wrestling, as well as women's basketball, golf, cross country, softball, soccer and volleyball. Visit www.ovu.edu to learn more.