Upper Iowa Claims Seventh Place at NWCA National Duals

By Howie Thompson, UIU Sports Information

Upper Iowa closed out their run at the 2017 NWCA National Duals with a close loss to #8 McKendree University, 18-12, and a close victory over #6 Mercyhurst University, 18-16. The Peacocks claimed seventh place with a 3-2 record for the two-day tournament with wins over #14 Tiffin University and #3 Maryville University to go with their seventh place victory. Upper Iowa has now placed in the top eight in nine of the last ten years at the NWCA National Duals.

The Peacocks battled the #8 Bearcats in Friday morning's consolation semifinal round, but came up on the short end of a hard fought battle. Upper Iowa and McKendree locked up in a battle that would see no bonus-point victories and seven of the ten bouts were decided by three points or less.

Maleek Williams got the squad off to a good start with a 6-5 win at 125 pounds and Josh Walker nearly upset Naquan Hardy (#9), who won 7-6, in the 133 pound match. McKendree made it two straight at Darren Wynn (#3) defeated Jordan Roths 9-3 at 141 pounds, but Damian Penichet (#12) tied the dual at 6-6 with a 5-1 victory at 149 pounds.

The Bearcats distanced themselves slightly with a pair of wins at 157 and 165, but an 8-6 decision in favor of Dalton Westerlund at 174 pounds pulled the Peacocks back within three, 12-9. Qiante Wagner outlasted Nick Baumler in the 184-pound bout 11-9 thanks to a late takedown to put McKendree ahead by six again.

Triston Westerlund earned his first victory of the duals at 197 in a 3-1 sudden victory over Luke Diener to give Upper Iowa a chance, but Coltyn Pease rallied from a 5-1 deficit to upset Logan Hopp (#7) at heavyweight and seal the win for the Bearcats with a 7-5 decision.

In the seventh place match, UIU faced off against #6 Marcyhurst. The Lakers picked up a win at 125 pounds as Willie Bohince (#2) defeated Ryan Schmalen 6-0, but Lincoln Monroe evened the dual score 3-3 with a wild 17-11 win at 133 pounds. Jordan Roths scored a victory at 141 pounds 7-4 putting the Peacocks ahead 6-3.

After Logan Grass earned a major decision for Mercyhurst with an 8-0 win over Hunter Slifka at 149, Zak Benitz answered with a major of his own (13-4) over Cole Gavin as UIU retook their three-point lead, 10-7.

Francis Mizia (#1) tied the dual, 10-10, with a 7-1 decision over Vance, but Upper Iowa once again answered with a bonus-point win. Dalton Westerlund scored an impressive 18-3 technical fall victory over Zach Breeden to put the Peacocks back on top 15-10. Baumler toed the line at 184 pounds and scored a 7-4 win to push the lead to eight, 18-10.

The lead held up over the final two bouts despite wins for the Lakers. Jamar Henry defeated Triston Westerlund 6-5 and Andy Welton (#5) got the better of Hopp at heavyweight 6-2. The two decisions cut the margin, but preserved the win for Upper Iowa 18-16.

The Peacocks will reopen action in the Northern Sun Conference next Friday night. Upper Iowa will visit Minnesota State University Moorhead to battle the Dragons on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

#8 McKendree 18 - Upper Iowa 12
125 - Maleek Williams (UIU) over Charles McNeal (Mercyhurst) Dec 6-5
133 - Naquan Hardy (Mercyhurst) over Josh Walker (UIU) Dec 7-6
141 - Darren Wynn (Mercyhurst) over Jordan Roths (UIU) Dec 9-3
149 - Damian Penichet (UIU) over Isaiah Kemper (Mercyhurst) Dec 5-1
157 - Ryan Strope (Mercyhurst) over Zak Benitz (UIU) Dec 7-1
165 - Austin Geerlings (Mercyhurst) over Colbey Vance (UIU) Dec 4-1
174 - Dalton Westerlund (UIU) over Nick Foster (Mercyhurst) Dec 8-6
184 - Qiante Wagner (Mercyhurst) over Nick Baumler (UIU) Dec 11-9
197 - Triston Westerlund (UIU) over Luke Diener (Mercyhurst) SV-1 3-1
285 - Coltyn Pease (Mercyhurst) over Logan Hopp (UIU) Dec 7-5

7th Place Match: Upper Iowa 18 - #6 Mercyhurst 16
125 - Willie Bohince (Mercyhurst) over Ryan Schmalen (UIU) Dec 6-0
133 - Lincoln Monroe (UIU) over Jeff Sisk (Mercyhurst) Dec 17-11
141 - Jordan Roths (UIU) over Joel Bowers (Mercyhurst) Dec 7-4
149 - Logan Grass (Mercyhurst) over Hunter Slifka (UIU) Maj 8-0
157 - Zak Benitz (UIU) over Cole Gavin (Mercyhurst) Maj 13-4
165 - Francis Mizia (Mercyhurst) over Colbey Vance (UIU) Dec 7-1
174 - Dalton Westerlund (UIU) over Zach Breeden (Mercyhurst) TF 18-3
184 - Nick Baumler (UIU) over Mike Green (Mercyhurst) Dec 7-4
197 - Jamar Henry (Mercyhurst) over Triston Westerlund (UIU) Dec 6-5
285 - Andy Welton (Mercyhurst) over Logan Hopp (UIU) Dec 6-2