Wartburg Takes D-III Crown
March 7, 2009
Courtesy of Wartburg
CEDAR RAPIDS - When it comes to winning NCAA Division III wrestling championships, Wartburg College head coach Jim Miller never gets tired of the feeling it invokes.
“We’re very excited,” the 18th year head coach of the Knights said Saturday, March 6, after his 2008-09 team successfully defended what the 2007-08 crew had done just one year before. “(This team) overcame a little bit of adversity during the year, and it came down to the fact that everyone bought in into what we trying to tell them.”
The Knights, gaining the school’s seventh all time and second successive national championship, totaled 117.5 points. Augsburg College of Minnesota was second with 105, while UW-La Crosse was third at 87. Meet tri-host Coe College took fourth with 78.5.
Individually, the upset theme that pervaded the tournament continued in the championship round. Four No. 4 or lower seeds stood atop their respective weight class awards podiums. The University of Dubuque’s Evan Brown, the 174-pound champion and first for the Spartans since 1979, topped the list at No. 8, while Luther College’s Zac Bartlett capped his run through the 133-pound weight class with the championship as a No. 6 seed. The other two members of the group were St. John’s University of Minnesota’s Minga Batsukh and UW-La Crosse’s Matt Mauseth, each of whom were No. 4 seeds. Wartburg 157-pounder Aaron Wernimont and the Eagles’ heavyweight Dan Laurent each successfully repeated as champions.
Awards, presented by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, went to Delaware Valley 184-pound national champion Mike Wilcox (Outstanding Wrestler), Augsburg fourth-place finisher Seth Flodeen (Most Falls in the Least Amount of Time), United States Merchant Marine Academy head coach Greg Ilaria (Rookie Coach of the Year) and Wartburg head coach Jim Miller (Coach of the Year) and assistant coach Eric Keller (Assistant Coach of the Year).