CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- It took 16 matches and halfway into the second session, but Wartburg finally lost a match.

The reigning kings of Division III may go wire-to-wire, leading after the first session and again after Friday evening’s roller-coaster ride. Head coach Jim Miller’s Knights will take a 20-point lead into the second day of the 2013 Division III Wrestling Championships. Wisconsin-Whitewater leads the pack of those in the rear-view mirror. Elmhurst, Wisconsin-La Crosse and Ithaca (N.Y.) round out the top five in the 64-team field.

And Wartburg will not be giving up that lead anytime soon, despite going 5-5 in the quarterfinal round.

“We lost some we shouldn’t have, but we won some close ones, too,” Miller said, whose squad scored 66 points on the first day and will have seven All-Americans. “It’s a battle; that is what the national tournament is always going to be.

“We had some nail-biters and those are the kind of things that help you win or not; we definitely needed them. I’m still worried about it, nervous about it, because we still have work to do.”

Returning champions Kenny Anderson (23-0, 133), Kodie Silvestri (19-1, 149) and Landon Williams (28-1, 165) will be joined by Gilberto Camacho (30-5, 125) and Thomas Mirocha (23-4, 141) in Saturday’s championship round. Cole Welter rebounded after a loss at 157 to win a match and reach the final eight at 157 pounds, along with heavyweight Ryan Fank, who also bounced back after losing in the quarters.

Williams dodged his second bullet. He won in overtime in the first session, scoring a takedown in overtime of the quarterfinals to beat Wisconsin-Parkside’s Jordan Schulte 5-3.

Camacho and Daniel Page of Central (Iowa) had two video reviews in the third period of their quarterfinal match. One Camacho takedown was taken away, but a second was not -- the one that counted -- giving Camacho a 6-4 victory. Two weights later, at 141, Mirocha won a wild scramble to win 9-8. The outcome came down to a review, looking at a Ryan Early reversal in the final seconds. The review did not turn out in Early’s favor much to the chagrin of the Elmhurst contingent.

Division III rules give each team three video reviews for the tournament. A correct challenge means the team does not lose it. An incorrect challenge means one goes away.

Senior 174-pounder Dylan Azinger had a tough finish to his career, leading 3-1 in the quarterfinals before getting pinned by Ithaca’s Jules Doliscar in the final period and losing a heartbreaker in the wrestlebacks after holding a big advantage.

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MAESTRO OF THE MAT

As Wartburg head coach Jim Miller's legendary career comes to an end, take a special look at a man who made an extraordinary impact.

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There were plenty of ‘wow’ moments Friday night. Perhaps the biggest was Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Grant Sutter pinning two-time All-American Nathan Fitzenreider in the 133-pound quarterfinals.

Elizabethtown’s Julian Meaney, unseeded at 184 pounds, beat the fourth-seed on Friday afternoon. In the evening, he literally got up off the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena floor and pinned fifth-seed Roland Dunlap of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a “twister.” The two wrestlers went off the mat in a scramble with Meaney running into the mat-side scoreboard. The loud crash reverberated and the ensuing minutes saw Meaney struggling to continue. But continue he did with a pin while trailing on the scoreboard he crashed into minutes earlier.

“I hit my head and woke up with a bunch of people around me,” said Meaney, who has had surgeries of various kinds eight different times. “I didn’t want to give them any jumbled words because they probably would have stopped it. So I really gathered my thoughts before saying anything. I’ve come too far for it to end like that.”

Meaney (10-1) takes medication for seizures due to epilepsy. He also suffers from asthma, and when it kicks in hyper-ventilation often occurs, thus leading to high adrenaline and a “crash.” After his victory, adrenaline does not begin to describe his reaction.

“I felt like I was going to pass out,” said Meaney. “But I feel good now. My dad has been put through hell and back with everything, so [this] has been dedicated to him.”

Another one bites the dust
The top seed at 197 lost in the first session. Friday night it was 157 pounds which saw its No. 1 seed go down. Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Cade Sarbacker put on a good third period ride to beat Trine’s Elias Larson. Sarbacker, the eighth seed, will take a 12-0 record into Saturday’s semifinals.

A little colder than usual
The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena is a fitting name for the host of the 2013 Division III Wrestling Championships. Less than six inches below the six mats is a sheet of ice, the playing surface for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders, a member of the United States Hockey League.

Quick hits
Two unseeded wrestlers will meet in the 125-pound semifinals -- Ursinus’ Chris Donaldson and Coe’s Jimmy Gotto. Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Nazar Kulchytskyy, a champion at 157 last season, won 7-6 in the quarterfinals. It was his second one-point victory of the tournament.

Springfield 157-pounder Devin Bescaha won three matches on Friday, beating the sixth and third seeds on his way to the semifinals. His victory against Wartburg’s Cole Welter was the Knights’ first loss of the day. Messiah’s Josh Thomson, a freshman, improved to 34-2 with two wins Friday. He faces The College of New Jersey’s Brian Broderick, the second seed who is 23-2.