LA CROSSE, WIS. – Top-ranked Wartburg increased its lead to 12.5 points at the close of session II of the 2011 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships on Friday.
The Knights made their move behind five semifinalists. Senior 125 pounder Mark Kist got the roll started early with a major decision win against Daniel Mendoza of Luther, rolling up 10 points as part of an eight-point win.
Senior 157 pounder Carrington Banks also earned a final-four spot on the winner’s side with a 6-1 win against Elias Larson of Trine. Banks’ brother, Bradley, joined him in the semifinals, upending top-seeded Kyle Twiak of Ohio Northern 7-5, while the upperclassman tandem of junior 197 pounder Byron Tate and senior heavyweight John Helgerson moved into the final four of their weights too. Tate scored 19 points in his quarterfinal win, while Helgerson held off a determined charge from Augsburg’s Chad Johnson for a 5-1 decision.
Those five wrestlers, plus sophomore 133 pounder Tommy Mirocha and senior 149 pounder Jacob Groth, all gained All-America honors. Mirocha came back after his tough loss in the opener with two victories, while Groth rebounded from a 7-4 battle with second-seeded Blaine Woszczak of Ithaca in the second round to defeat Williams’ Corey Paulish 11-8 to reach the consolation quarterfinals.
Wartburg’s seven All-Americans continues an impressive run for coach Jim Miller’s program. The Orange and Black have now had five or more All-Americans in 16 consecutive national tournaments.
Wartburg’s five semifinalists lead the tourney field. Perennial mat rival Augsburg stands second in points (51.5) and has four semifinalists, while host UW-La Crosse is third with 43 points, and Iowa Conference rival Coe is fourth with 41.5.
Tate upped his current streak to 49 wins in his last 50 matches. Helgerson moved his win streak to 20, while Carrington Banks went to 29-1 in his last 30 matches.