No. 8 Peacocks Record 26 Falls at Luther Open

By Howie Thompson, UIU Athletic Information

No. 8 Peacocks Record 26 Falls at Luther Open

The No. 8 Peacock wrestling team put together a great day at the Luther Open in Decorah, Iowa on Saturday. Upper Iowa led the tournament with 26 wins by fall; five more than Wartburg College, the top-ranked team in NCAA Division III. The University of Iowa scored 20 falls and Minnesota State University, Mankato was fourth with 18.

The 26 falls for UIU gives the team 46 for the season in just two tournaments and a dual and were racked up by the Peacocks' 25 entrants (both attached and unattached). Wartburg entered 31 into the tournament, while Iowa had 20 wrestlers and Minnesota State had 18 in action. In head-to-head competition, the Peacocks went 8-2 against Wartburg wrestlers.

The Luther Open features two sets of brackets. The Silver Brackets are for freshmen and redshirt freshmen, while the Elite Brackets are for everyone else. UIU entered 14 wrestlers into the Elite Bracket and 11 in the Silver Bracket including 9 unattached wrestlers. The Peacocks claimed 7 places in the Elite Brackets and 8 more places in the Silver Brackets.

Jordan Gundrum had the best day for the Peacocks claiming the 174-pound title in the Elite Bracket thanks to a 4-0 record with all four wins coming by fall. The West Bend, Wis. product pinned Brice Duhe of Wartbrug (4:32), Bailey Chyma of Coe (2:34), Zach Johnston of Minnesota State (0:30) and Jake Voss of Coe (3:28) in the championship match. Gundrum is now 5-0 on the season with five wins by fall.

Triston Westerlund continues to develop as a heavyweight reaching the finals of the Elite Brackets before losing to Aaron Costello of Iowa by fall (2:42). Westerlund won his quarterfinal match by tech fall (16-1) over Nick Hogan of Wartburg to reach the semis where he beat Kaleb Staack of Wartburg (2-0).

Ryan Schmalen (125) earned 6th place with a 2-2 record including a win by fall, while Maleek Williams (133) claimed 4th place with a 2-1 mark and a pair of pins. The falls by Williams came against George Farmah of Minnesota State (6:19) and Brennen Doebel of Wartburg (5:34).

Josh Walker (141) went 3-2 with a fall, a tech fall and a major decision to place 8th. In the quarterfinals, Walker nearly had a six-point move on the edge of the circle but couldn't quite keep his toes in against Aaron Meyer of Iowa; Meyer went on to defeat Walker 8-4.

Hunter Slifka (149) placed 6th with a 2-2 record including a major decision and Zach Bruns (149) went 1-2 with his victory coming by fall (5:57) over Cole Erickson of Coe, who is ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III.

Tucker Black (165) placed 8th with a 2-2 record, while Cody Nelson (165) also went 2-2 with two falls. Nick Baumler (197) went 2-2 with a fall over teammate Brock Sorensen (4:41) on the consolation side.

Aaron Baker (141) placed second in the Silver Bracket with a 2-1 record and two falls. The pins both came in the first period of his first two matches before losing in the finals.

Brock Benitz (157) placed fourth in the Silver Bracket, but was 3-0 when he pulled out of the bracket due to illness. Benitz had a pair of wins by fall running his season total of pins to six.

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