A new No. 1
In the finals of the 2015 NWCA National Duals, Maryville (Mo.) beat Notre Dame College (Ohio) in a down-to-the-wire affair that saw 197-pounder Ryan Beltz pick up a major decision and heavyweight Donnell Walker win a 4-2 match to give the Saints a 16-15 victory. NDC entered the tournament as the top seed.
Over the weekend at the 2016 NWCA National Duals in Fort Wayne, Indiana, it was Maryville who entered the event ranked No. 1. Notre Dame flipped the result this time around, knocking off Maryville, 22-12, in the semifinals, winning five of the first six bouts. A few hours later, NDC claimed its second Duals title in three seasons with a 21-15 victory over St. Cloud State, the second seed and NCAA champion last March.
Leading 15-9 against SCSU in the final, NDC leaned on national champions Joey Davis and Garrett Lineberger at 184 and 197 pounds, respectively, to secure the win. Cobey Fehr, who beat Maryville’s top-ranked Nate Rodriguez in the semifinal dual, pinned SCSU’s Matt Nelson at 3:57 of the 141-pound bout. The Falcons of Notre Dame also picked up wins over top-ranked Tim Prescott (125) and Clint Poster (165), Jacob Goodwin beating Prescott, 6-5, to open the finals and Juwan Edmond edging Poster in overtime.
“We wrestled really hard and wrestled good on their feet, which is what we try to do most of the time, if not all of the time, so it worked out well,” Notre Dame co-head coach Frank Romano said after Saturday’s wins. “(SCSU has) got a great team, and I’m sure they will continue to have a great team. It was a great win for us and I feel good about the whole thing in general.”
SCSU had won 17-straight duals since a loss to Maryville in the semifinals of last season’s National Duals. The semifinal victory was NDC’s seconds straight over Maryville since falling to the Saints in last season’s Duals final.
The two-day event included a few surprises and provided a preview of a possible chaotic final two months culminating in the NCAA Championships in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, March 11-12.
● Head coach Pat Pecora’s Pittsburgh-Johnstown squad hammered Nebraska-Kearney, 37-7, in the quarterfinals, getting an overtime victory by Nick Roberts over two-time DII champion Daniel DeShazer. After falling to St. Cloud State, the Mountain Hawks beat Maryville for third.
“We went in seeded sixth and ended up third,” Pecora said. “It was a great tournament for us. I think we saw that we can be in contention for a national title. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and nationals. I think the team is committed to putting the work in to get there.”
● Seven of DII’s top-ranked individuals tasted defeat over the weekend – UNK’s Romero Cotton, Findlay’s Nick Goebel, and NDC’s Jon Rivera joined Prescott, DeShazer, Rodriguez, and Poster. Cotton, a two-time NCAA champion at 197 pounds, lost to Lake Erie College’s Evan Rosborough in overtime of the Lopers’ 25-13 win on Saturday, while Goebel, No. 1 at 149 pounds, fell to Maryville’s Keenan Hagerty on Friday. Rivera, at 157, dropped a 6-3 decision to Minnesota State-Mankato’s Matt Mincey on Friday.
● Upper Iowa won four of five duals, losing only to Maryville in the quarterfinals. In the Peacocks’ final match, a 21-20 win over UNK, 184-pounder Dalton Westerlund had a 45-second pin and 197-pounder Avery Jacobs a 31-second fall.
● Three of the top eight finishers in Fort Wayne call Ohio home. Tiffin finished strong in a 26-19 victory over No. 4 Mercyhurst, getting a pair of technical falls from Jake Cramer and Garrett Grey to close the dual; the Dragons beat Lake Erie in the seventh place dual.
A loss in South Carolina
Anderson University announced last week that the wrestling program would cease operations at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. Longtime head coach Dock Kelly resigned during the first semester to take the head coaching position at Lourdes University in Ohio, a program that will begin competition in 2016-17.
“We have to strategically use our resources in the most efficient and effective manner,” AU Director of Athletics Bill D’Andrea said in a release last Thursday. “The decision to move forward without wrestling, though difficult, is the right one for Anderson University. Like all universities, academic and athletic units constantly assess their strategic priorities. These processes can necessitate making difficult decisions like this one.”
The Trojans finished 11-17 in dual meets last season and are 1-10 this season after an 0-3 showing at the Virginia Duals. AU tied for 17th twice at the DII Championships since joining the division in 2000.
● Wisconsin-Parkside outscored three opponents at the Lindenwood Duals, 122-10, last Friday including a 31-6 romp over No. 10 Lindenwood (Mo.). Ranger 184-pounder Montrail Johnson had three pins in the three wins.
● Western State (Colo.) hosted the 26th Tracy Borah Duals in Gunnison on Saturday. The day’s first dual may have been the best, a 20-15 win for WSU over Central Oklahoma. Leading 15-12 with two bouts remaining, Western got a 16-0 technical fall by 197-pounder Mick Dougharity to secure the match. The Air Force Academy, the lone DI squad of the six competing, beat Colorado State-Pueblo, Western State, and Colorado-Mesa.
● Kutztown (Pa.) went 3-0 at the Virginia Duals, beating Central Florida, Liberty, and Minnesota State-Moorhead, 32-3, in the finals of the American College Division.
● Colorado School of Mines heavyweight Ian Cheatum pinned Simon Fraser’s Sean Molle in seven seconds in a dual last Wednesday.
● California Baptist took a partial squad to Palo Alto on Saturday, forfeiting three weight classes. Of the seven bouts contested in the Cardinals’ 25-10 win, the Lancers won three ― Anthony Racobaldo (133), Brady Bersano (157), and Jacob Waste (184). San Francisco State led Stanford, 11-8, after four bouts, but dropped a 30-11 decision on Sunday.
● LIU-Post wrestled its 14th and 15th duals of the season Saturday, losing to West Liberty before beating East Stroudsburg. The Pioneers (6-9) will suit up for 24 duals before the regular season is through.
● Sixth-ranked Wisconsin-Parkside hosts the Ranger Duals this Saturday, welcoming No. 2 St. Cloud State, Tiffin and Findlay, both ranked 12th, No. 15 Augustana (S.D.), No. 16 Indianapolis, and McKendree.
● No. 7 Pittsburgh-Johnstown, coming off a strong showing at the National Duals, travels to No. 9 Lake Erie College with No. 4 Mercyhurst (Pa.) hosting No. 14 Wheeling Jesuit (W.V.) on Friday. Nebraska-Kearney, third in the latest rankings but sixth at the National Duals, host Central Oklahoma on Thursday.