CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. -- The Warhawks will send a group of six wrestlers to the national championships set for March 14-15 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Wisconsin-Whitewater's team total of 130 bested the competition by 22 points for their second consecutive regional title. Three Warhawks won their weight classes, two were runners-up and another took third in the NCAA Midwest Regional hosted by Wabash College Saturday to advance. The top three in each weight class advance to the national championships.
Jimmy Nehls went 3-0 after a first round bye to win the 133 pound weight class. Nehls, the number two seed in the regional and ranked seventh in the NWCA, opened with a major decision against Wisconsin-Stevens Point's Lance Fabry 15-1. In his second match of the day, Nehls topped Miguel Venecia of Elmhurst 3-2 to advance to the championship. Nehls topped Wisconsin-La Crosse's Dustin Weinmann 6-2 in the title bout to earn the team's first individual regional title of the day. He advances to nationals with a 22-5 record.
The next individual champ for Whitewater came in the 165 pound weight class. Cedric Gibson, the No. 1 seed, won all three of his matches Saturday to improve to 22-5. He opened with a 9-3 decision against Logan Hermsen of Stevens Point followed by a 6-3 decision against Tyler Schneider of La Crosse. Gibson overpowered Wabash's Josh Sampson to win by major decision, 14-3, in the title bout to repeat as regional champ.
Top seeded Shane Siefert notched his second consecutive regional title at 197 pounds after going 4-0 Saturday. He won three of his four bouts by fall, including the championship match. Siefert opened with a pin of Michael Conner in 2:28 and stopped the clock in 1:58 with a pin against Mario Palmisano of Chicago in his second match of the day. A 5-0 decision against Mike Minske of La Crosse sent Siefert back to the championship. He recorded the fall in 2:31 against the number two seed, Elmhurst's Danny Balderas to improve to 37-4 this season and take the team lead in pins with 10 this season.
Team scores were: UW-W 130, UW-La Crosse 108, Wabash 106, Olivet 97.5, Elmhurst 74.5, UW-Stevens Point 65.5, North Central (Ill.) 57, Wheaton 55, Alma 40, Trine 27, Chicago 14 and Manchester 5.