Feb. 21, 2010

Courtesy of Wartburg

STORM LAKE - Buoyed by eight finalists, No. 2-ranked Wartburg added to its remarkable streak of Iowa Conference wrestling championships Tuesday, Feb. 16.

The Knights, winning their 18th straight and 28th all-time conference mat championship, postede 176.5 points. Coe, ranked third on the recent National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III poll, was second with 167.

Head coach Jim Miller's program added two more individual champions to its roll as well. Senior 133-pounder Sean White of Grand Junction, Colo., and sophomore 197-pounder Byron Tate of Clinton each earned a spot at the top of the podium inside Siebens Fieldhouse on Buena Vista's campus. The Orange and Black were close to increasing that total with some narrow defeats in the remaining six championship tilts.

"We met a pair of goals today," Miller said. "It's good to get the team title, and we also had all 10 guys qualify for nationals. We have some things to work on, with the way the final round finished overall, but we have two and a half weeks now to get in the room and do so before the Division III championships.

"I am very happy for Byron and Sean," he added. "They both worked themselves through the tournament to reach some individual successes."

White registered back-to-back falls to make the final and then used a takedown in the final 20 seconds to upend Cornell's Nick Nothern 3-1 in the championship. Tate used the same route to the title round with two falls and then defeated Coe's Rob Kramer, sealing the team title in the process, by a 6-3 count in the finals.

Junior 125-pounder Mark Kist of Eagle Grove, junior 149-pounder Jacob Groth of Marshalltown, junior 165-pounder Carrington Banks of Stockbridge, Ga., sophomore 174-pounder Dylan Azinger of DeWitt, junior 184-pounder Todd Becker of Gilbertville, and junior 197-pounder John Helgerson of West Union each turned in runner-up efforts. Senior 141-pounder Matt Kelly of Dubuque and junior 157-pounder Adam Weber of Gilbertville wound up third place.

Wartburg's 10 national qualifiers now begin preparations for the 2010 NCAA Division III tournament March 5-6 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

NOTES: The program now has 170 total individual titles. The Knights have gained at least one each year since 1985 and multiple titlists in the conference championships each time since 1990. ... White's championship marked the third time in the past six seasons Wartburg has had a 133-pound individual winner. ... Tate's 197-pound title was the Knights' fifth in the past six IIAC tournaments at that weight class. ... Fans can watch a tape-delayed broadcast of the championship round, via the state-wide Iowa Public Television network, Sunday, Feb. 21, at 4 p.m. at the conclusion of coverage of the Iowa State-Nebraska dual.