INDIANAPOLIS – Freshman Ross Benzel shocked the nation’s two-time national champion, Trevor Franklin of Upper Iowa, defeating him 8-3 at the 34th annual Midwest Classic on Saturday and Sunday. Benzel was one of two Limestone (4-2) wrestlers to place at the invitation only tournament.
Benzel, wrestling in the 133-pound bracket, began the tournament with a comfortable 12-5 decision against Newberry’s Nick Lankford. The victory was his third of the season against Lankford. Previously, he had beaten his NC counterpart at the Pembroke Classic on Nov. 10 and at the Tornado Open on Nov. 18.
Next up was the showdown with Franklin, who is currently the reining back-to-back National Champion and the top-ranked wrestler at 133 pounds. Benzel pulled off a stunning 8-3 decision, sending Franklin to the consolation bracket.
Day two did not begin the way Benzel had hoped as he dropped an 8-4 decision to Indiana Tech’s Travis Barroquillo. He responded to the defeat by grinding out a 6-4 victory against Lindsay Wilson’s Jacob McCombs to advance to the third-place match. However, Benzel wasn’t able to defeat Campbellville’s Tyler Alsip and had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
Fellow freshman Justin Tribble also placed at the Midwest Classic with a seventh-place mark in the 197-pound bracket. He started his tournament by avenging a loss he suffered at the Newberry Duals on Dec. 8. After falling to Lake Erie’s Mike Samijlenko 11-7, Tribble earned a narrow 2-1 decision this time around.
His next matchup pitted him against No. 3 Carl Broghammer of Upper Iowa, which ended in a 10-1 victory for Broghammer.
Dropped into the consolation bracket, Tribble won his next match by medical forfeit before falling to Ashland’s top-ranked wrestler Joe Brandt. Brandt eked out a narrow 1-0 victory.
Tribble won the seventh-place match by defeating Ohio Valley’s Chase Long 6-0.
Senior Theran Goodale and freshman Aaron Rowe finished the tournament 3-2 and 2-2, respectively.