Jan. 7, 2010

By Amy Farnum
NCAA.com

KNIGHT WATCH:
Fifth-ranked Wartburg tuned up for the NWCA/Cliff Keen Division III National Duals by claiming eight individual championships and the team title at Cornell College’s Matman Invitational on Jan. 3.

The Knights cruised to the victory, outdistancing second-place Cornell by 57 points.  Senior 141-pounder Kalen Lenz of Manchester, Iowa, claimed the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award after upsetting then-No. 1 Kevin Donahue of Cornell, 3-1, in the finals.

Wartburg now moves on to the National Duals on Jan. 9-10 as the event’s fourth-seeded squad.  The Knights will take on 13th-seeded Johnson and Wales College in the opening round.  Wartburg has reached the finals in each of the last seven years, winning titles in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008.  The Knights are 7-0 in dual meets this season.

MILESTONE DAY:
Cornell College’s Nick Nothern picked up his 100th career victory en route to winning the 133-pound title at the Matman Invitational on Jan. 3.

"Nick is not a guy who's going to back down from a challenge,” said Cornell head coach Mike Duroe. “Hopefully, he can springboard off this to get ready for the meat of our schedule and keep moving forward. Even though he's nearing the end of his collegiate career, he's still trying to learn and improve in certain areas."

The native of Salina, Kan., topped a pair of Wartburg wrestlers in overtime, including a 4-2 win over top-seeded Matt Kelly to capture the championship.  Nothern, the eighth-ranked grappler in his weight class, improved to 8-4 on the year to become Cornell’s first three-time champion at the event since 1997.  He was named Iowa Conference Wrestler of the Week for his accomplishments.

Cornell will travel to the National Duals, beginning the tournament against sixth-seeded and ninth-ranked Concordia-Moorhead on Jan. 9. The Rams are 2-4 against nationally-ranked foes this season.

POINT MADE: 
UW-Stevens Point 184-pound Ben Engelland garnered Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Wrestler of the Week after posting a 4-0 mark at the Desert Duals in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 20.  

The junior from Neenah, Wis., picked up a major decision and two falls, including a pin against Simpson’s Curtis Barber at the 2:47 mark in his final match.  He improved to 18-0 on the season with six pins, and is ranked second nationally in his weight class.

The Pointers are back in action on Jan. 9 at the National Duals.   They are the fifth-seed, and will face No. 12 Luther in the first round.

LEAP TO THE TOP: 
Delaware Valley College’s Jesse Harrington leaped into the No. 1 spot in the latest 157-pound Division III weight rankings after recording a 5-0 mark and an individual championship at the Sunshine Open last week.  Harrington was a 2008 NCAA qualifier who missed last season due to injury.
 
The junior from New Providence, N.J., defeated then-No. 1 and two-time All-American Jason Adams of Augsburg, 8-6, in the semifinals, and then topped fifth-ranked Zach Mizer of Heidleburg, 6-0, to earn the title.  He improved to 13-3 on the year.

The No. 12 Aggies have earned the ninth seed at the National Duals, and will tangle with eighth-seeded St. John’s (Minn.) on Jan. 9.