Patrick Myers could cap an amazing comeback on Saturday.
A little more than a year after breaking his neck in a match, the Penn Cambria graduate could lock up a spot in the NCAA Division I tournament.
The Southern Illinois-Edwardsville sophomore needs to win the 133-pound title at the Southern Conference Championships in Lexington, Va., to guarantee himself a trip to Des Moines, Iowa, for the national tournament in two weeks, but Myers could also take another route. He is 32nd in the NCAA’s rating percentage index at his weight class, which will have 33 wrestlers in it at the national tournament. That means he could be included by the selection committee even if he doesn’t win the conference title, but he’s not thinking about that.
“I’m not looking for second place,” Myers said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “I’m going to, hopefully, win a title.”
Myers, who is 20-9 this season, said he probably will be seeded third or fourth in the SoCon tournament, but he’s confident he can avenge some regular-season losses. The key, he said, is to be aggressive instead of tentative.
“Preparation-wise it’s just open up and show them what I’m capable of,” he said. “I feel like I can beat them by more than a couple of points or – if I’m cautious – barely win or even lose, like I’ve done in the past.”
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville is in its first season in Division I and the Cougars have had some growing pains in a 6-19 season that includes a 1-6 record in the conference.
“It’s been a little difficult,” Myers said. “Injuries have kept us from having our strong lineups. It’s hard when backups are in the lineup.”