St. Cloud State, Wartburg still on top
Oklahoma State sneaks past Iowa; freshmen continue to shine
• The NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals, Division II and III style, were contested in Springfield, Ill., during the weekend. Despite some wild results, St. Cloud State and Wartburg repeated as champs.
St. Cloud State moved its dual win streak to 37 with four wins in claiming its consecutive Division II Duals title. The No. 4 Huskies beat Notre Dame (Ohio) in Sunday’s final 17-15 thanks to a 3-0 victory by All-American Jake Kahnke in the dual’s final bout. St. Cloud State’s last loss came on Jan. 27, 2011.
“This is a huge deal because we had five seniors graduate, three All-Americans graduated and half our lineup is freshmen or redshirt-freshmen,” said Kahnke, a two-time NCAA runner-up. “We said to ourselves ‘We may not be the most experienced or most technical team, but we’re going to outwork them.”
|DII ST. CLOUD ST./DIII WARTBURG IN FINALS|
Notre Dame, in its first year of DII competition after winning back-to-back NAIA in 2010 and 2011 and the NCWA trophy in 2012, beat third-seeded Central Oklahoma in Sunday’s semifinals. On Saturday, Notre Dame beat second-seeded Newberry (S.C.).
The top seed, Nebraska-Kearney, lost in the first round on Saturday to Wisconsin-Parkside.
DIII was business as usual as Wartburg claimed a third consecutive title, beating Elmhurst (Ill.) 24-10 in Sunday’s championship bout. The Knights gave co-head coach Jim Miller, in his final year, a seventh Duals title. This season also marked the first time since 2002 – the first year of DIII Duals competition – that Wartburg and Augsburg did not meet in the finals. Augsburg lost in the quarterfinals to Centenary (N.J.) and bowed out of the tournament with a 22-20 loss to Johnson & Wales, who nearly knocked off SUNY-Cortland in the first round on Saturday.
“To this point we hadn’t done anything to earn the No. 1 ranking,” Wartburg co-head coach Eric Keller said. “All the best teams in the nation are here, so you’ve got to earn it. I think we had our best performance of the whole tournament in the finals.
"For us it started at 125, our 125-pounder had lost to that kid earlier in the year and went out and got that win. It set the tone,” Keller said.
• No. 2 Oklahoma State beat No. 4 Iowa 18-12 on Sunday in Stillwater. Trailing 12-3 after five bouts, the Cowboys (8-0) won five consecutive, including four that required third-period takedowns in one-point decisions, three of them by 3-2 scores – Tyler Caldwell beat Nick Moore at 165, Chris Chionuma defeated Ethan Lofthouse at 184 and Blake Rosholt outlasted Nathan Burak at 197.
“It was a classic match of battles; it was tough,” OSU head coach John Smith said. “We did what we needed to do to win the dual. But we made a lot of mistakes that we have to correct from here.
“One takedown in a lot of those matches … but sometimes that is all it is,” Smith added.
It was Iowa’s first loss in 13 matches this season.
Chionuma was an NAIA champion two years ago and appeared in his first and only year of DI competition.
“Coach Smith has been talking to me about how I am right there,” Chionuma said. “I think too much during my matches. The coaches have talked to me about believing I belong on the mat with these DI guys. My ranking, my first year here, from an NAIA school… I have to quit thinking about all that stuff and just wrestle.”
Oklahoma State and Iowa have combined to win 57 NCAA championships.
• What happens in March will determine the top freshman for the 2012-13 season. Only two rookies are ranked inside the top eight at their respective weight classes entering the third week of January – Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett and The Citadel’s Ugi Khishignyam.
Garrett, ranked seventh at 125 pounds, improved to 25-3 with his 17th bonus-point victory of the season on Sunday. He won two California state titles and was a national champion in freestyle in 2011.
Khishignyam, a native of Mongolia, is 26-3 and ranked eighth at 141 pounds. Two of his losses this season are to All-Americans Mike Nevinger of Cornell and Devin Carter of Virginia Tech.
Five other freshman are knocking on the door of the top eight.
Oklahoma State 157-pounder Alex Dieringer, ranked ninth, lost to No. 1 Derek St. John of Iowa 8-4 on Sunday. It was Dieringer’s second loss in 18 matches. Michigan’s Taylor Massa moved to 17-5 with a major decision against Wisconsin on Sunday. Massa is ranked ninth at 165 pounds.
Three freshmen advanced to the NCAA finals in 2012, including Logan Steiber, who won the title at 133 pounds by beating 2011 champion Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State. Penn State’s Nico Megaludis lost in the 125-pound final to Iowa’s Matt McDonough, while Minnesota’s Dylan Ness fell in the 149-pound title bout to Penn State’s Frank Molinaro.
• Virginia Tech beat Virginia 21-9 on Sunday to claim the 2013 Virginia Duals title in Hampton, Va. … No. 3 Minnesota won 7 of 10 bouts in beating No. 5 Ohio State 25-9 on Friday in Columbus. All-Americans Logan Storley and Kevin Steinhaus had back-to-back major decisions at 174 and 184, respectively, to give the Gophers (9-1) some breathing room … Air Force beat Northern Iowa 19-18 on Sunday. UNI lost a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct on its bench during the final bout of the dual ... Penn State junior 184-pounder Ed Ruth moved his win streak to 51 with a pin against Michigan State on Sunday. Cornell's Kyle Dake moved his streak to 58 with a 37-second pin against Princeton on Sunday.