Late Wartburg rallies lead to title win
Tate, Helgerson fuel late surge as Knights win fifth Duals title
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Fueled by its upper weight classes, No. 2-ranked Wartburg picked up a pair of close wins en route to the NWCA Division III National Duals title at the UNI Dome.
It wasn't easy as the Knights, which moved to 14-1 on the season, trailed both sixth-seeded Ithaca and fourth-seeded UW-La Crosse by identical 15-7 scores after the 174-pound matches. Coach Jim Miller’s team received major decisions from junior 197-pounder Byron Tate and senior heavyweight John Helgerson against Ithaca to go with junior 184-pounder Dylan Azinger's decision for an 18-15 final. Against the Eagles, the Knights again overturned the deficit with three consecutive decisions from senior 184-pounder Todd Becker of Gilbertville, Tate and Helgerson to forge the 16-15 victory.
Wartburg’s National Duals crown was its fifth overall and first since 2008. Miller’s program also took the top spot in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
Helgerson’s two wins moved him into the program’s 100-win club and increased his career record to 101-27. Senior 149-pounder Jacob Groth moved to just one win shy of the 100-win club over the weekend as he now sports a 99-38 career mark.
Tate’s two wins continued an impressive stretch in which he’s won 36 of his 37 matches. 125-pounder Mark Kist (Eagle Grove), who ended the day with two wins, jumped to 20 wins this season, joining Helgerson (28 wins) and Tate (29 wins) in reaching the 20-win plateau.