Wartburg picks up title No. 8
Knights earn seven All-America nods, two win individual titles
LA CROSSE, Wis. – With two matches remaining in the 2011 NCAA Division III Championships, coach Jim Miller and the Knights were looking for a way to put an exclamation point on the program’s eighth national title.
They got it in the form of two individual national titles from junior 197 pounder Byron Tate and senior heavyweight John Helgerson.
“It was awesome to get the team title wrapped up early, but those two wins for Byron and John were sort of icing on the cake,” Miller said. “I am so happy for those two. I think I jumped 10 feet when John won, too.
“This entire team got up here and earned this championship. I’m very proud of these guys.”
Tate’s second national title was paved with a flurry of second period takedowns to defeat Jared Massey of Augsburg 9-4. Helgerson took his first trip to the top of the awards stand with a thrilling 3-1 win against Elmhurst’s Mark Corsello. He caught Corsello’s legs towards the edge of the mat and scored the winning points with three seconds left.
Junior 174 pounder Bradley Banks of Stockbridge, Ga., who hoped to join Helgerson and Tate on the top of the podium, ended as a national runner-up. Wartburg ended the meet with 117 points, besting the field by 28.5 points.
Wartburg’s seven individual All-Americans included: senior 125 pounder Mark Kist of Eagle Grove, third; sophomore 133 pounder Tommy Mirocha of Davenport, fourth; senior 149 pounder Jacob Groth of Marshalltown, sixth; senior 157 pounder Carrington Banks, fourth; Bradley Banks, second; Tate and Helgerson, national champions. The Knights All-Americans were crowned at the end of Friday’s session, continuing a string of 16 years of five-or-more honors.
The Knights’ two individual champions marked the eighth consecutive championship in which the Orange and Black have had at least one titlist. Helgerson ended his Wartburg career on a 21-match win streak, while Tate’s roll ended the season at 50 wins in his last 51 matches.