Trio of National Qualifiers for Men's Wrestling

Photo credit: Mason Thomas
Photo credit: Mason Thomas

Pembroke, Nc. – The King University Men's Wrestling team assembled an incredible performance at this year's region tournament. Rylee Billings, Elijah Seay and Cade Ridley all qualified for the national tournament and out of ten weight classes five wrestlers made the semi finals.


  • At 125 pounds Sophomore Rylee Billings grabs a 7-2 decision to advance to the semi finals. Here he lost a 3-1 lead with very short time to go into sudden victory. He nearly finished on the edge but would unfortunately fall to the consolation side. To qualify for nationals a wrestler needs to finish in the top three. This implied Billings needed to win out to qualify. In the consolation semi's he wrestled extremely smart to prompt a clean 9-4 victory. In the consolation finals he continued the trend. He finished his final match 6-0 and clenched national qualification.
  • Sophomore and tri-cities native Elijah Hicks had such a close brush with qualification at 133 pounds. He won his first match handily by score of 8-4. Unfortunately he fell in the semi finals and also found himself in the consolation bracket. Ultimately he would take 6th, but is certainly in great position for next year.
  • At 141 Senior Jacob Wynn put a great match together to the eventual champion in the first round. He lost 6-3 but easily gave the best matchup of the day. Jacob is one of three seniors on the squad and has been a constant source of strength and resolve as a leader and captain for the team. He will be greatly missed after this year's graduation.
  • Senior Cory Collins has been making noise all year. Some of the most exciting matchups we have seen have centralized around this man. Struggling with an intense rib injury he has consistently shocked the crowd and pulled out major wins. He won a barn burning 9-6 victory to advance to the semi finals. The semi finals was an incredibly exciting match but Collins would fall 10-6 into the consolation bracket, and at great cost. He was unable to finish the tournament due to the separated rib he has nursed for weeks and medical forfeited to 6th. Great effort, Cory. The Tornado will miss you greatly.
  • Freshman Alex Mercardo represented the Tornado at 165 pounds and had a tough match up first round to the eventual champion. He would fall from consolation but put in a great effort.
  • At 174 pounds Freshman Elijah Davis also had a tough match up first round, falling to one of the eventual finalists. He too would fall in consolation, but every match he wrestles is loaded with explosiveness. Keep an eye out for this man next year.
  • Senior Elijah Seay began the day with a sweet first round tech fall at 197 pounds. In the semi finals he matched up with the eventual champion and lost a decision by score of 10-4. Seay was not not shaken though, as he recovered with a first period pin to set up a methodical 9-5 victory for national qualification. Seay has bobbed in and out of national ranking this year and has a great opportunity to become one of the few All-Americans this sport allows.
  • And finally at 285 pounds Sophomore Cade Ridley comes alive with a huge upset by pin in the first round. He would fall into consolation but like Billing and Seay he was hungry for a national championship berth. He viciously finished his first consolation semi finals match with a first period pin. He finalized the evening with a classic heavyweight position battle and took the win by decision 3-1.


125 - Rylee Billings 3-1, 3rd and NATIONAL QUALIFIER

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 and NATIONAL QUALIFIER

285 - Cade Ridley 3-1, 3rd and NATIONAL QUALIFIER


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