No. 6 Peacocks Defeat Vikings to Close Regular Season, 22-15

By Howie Thompson, UIU Athletic Information

No. 6 Upper Iowa honored their wrestling alumni prior to the Mike Olson Alumni Day Dual against Augustana University. The Peacocks won six of the ten matches over the Vikings including two bonus-point wins thanks to a fall and a major decision. UIU closed out the regular season with a 10-4 record overall and a 6-2 mark against the Northern Sun Conference. Augie is now 11-3 overall and 6-1 in the NSIC; the Vikings will end their regular season next week versus No. 1 St. Cloud State University.

Maleek Williams (#6) picked up a 10-3 decision at 125 pounds to open the dual thanks to a second-period reversal, two takedowns and a pair of two-point nearfalls over Brandon Carroll. The win improved Williams' record to 23-7 at the close of the regular season.

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At 133 pounds, Josh Walker (#6) scored an early takedown and rode on top for the remainder of the period to rack up over two minutes of ride time. Walker added an escape and a takedown in the second for a 6-0 lead heading into the final period. A final takedown and a ride time point led to the redshirt senior's 28th win of the season in a 9-1 major decision over Brayden Curry.

Keaton Schorr scored three takedowns and a ride-time point to defeat Hunter Slifka by decision 8-2. The Augie win cut the Upper Iowa lead to 7-3 heading into the 149-pound bout. Slifka went 12-16 during the regular season.

Damian Penichet used a takedown and a two-point nearfall to push a 4-0 lead into the second period. The redshirt junior added an escape in the second period and closed the match with a two-minute ride on top to win by decision 7-0 over Oscar Ramirez Jr. and finish his regular season with a 22-10 mark. The win put the home team ahead 10-3.

Brock Benitz (#7) made a successful return to the mat on Sunday at 157 pounds against Bruce Lemon Jr. Benitz scored a pair of takedowns in the opening period to claim a 4-2 lead. An escape and a ride time point secured a 6-3 win for Benitz to close his regular season with a 22-4 record.

Regan Bye put together an impressive final run at 165 pounds that included three takedowns, the second of which led by a win by fall (6:31) over Tucker Black. Black scored an escape early in the third period to tie the match 5-5 with a ride-time point in his pocket, but a pair of takedowns led to the big win for Bye. The pin cut the gap to 13-9 in favor of UIU. Black ends his first regular season with a 21-15 record for UIU.

Jordan Gundrum took an early 4-0 lead with a takedown and two nearfall points, but had to come from behind against Lukas Poloncic after falling behind 7-5. Poloncic used a pair of takedowns and two nearfall points to get the lead. Gundrum scored a reversal and got the fall (4:14) to improve to 21-7 on the season.

Aero Amo (#7) scored the first point in the 184-pound bout with an escape early in the second period. True freshman Dalton Hahn tied the score at 1-1 with an escape early in the third, but Amo countered with a takedown in the third period. Hahn scored one last escape, but came up shy to the nationally-ranked Viking by a 3-2 score. Hahn will head to the regionals with a 22-13 record in his first collegiate season.

Leading 19-12, the Peacocks sent Jamie Gehling to the mat for the 197-pound match. Gehling scored first against Clayton Wahlstrom with a takedown, but a reversal and a takedown around an escape for the Peacock wrestler gave Augie the slight 4-3 edge heading to the second. After each grappler scored an escape, Wahlstrom scored the final takedown to post a 7-4 win and pull the Vikings within four. Gehling closed out the regular season with a 23-13 mark.

With the dual still on the line, the heavyweights took to the circle to hunt down the team victory. UIU's Triston Westerlund matched up with Luke Nohns. Westerlund posted a takedown at the end of the first period and an escape in the second to take a 3-0 lead into the final frame. Nohns got one point back with an escape, but Westerlund added two more takedowns to secure a 7-3 win and a 26-12 record for the year.

The Peacocks (10-4, 6-2 NSIC) will now rest up and train for the NCAA Super Region III Tournament on Feb. 24-25 in St. Cloud, Minn. One Peacock per weight class will head to the regional looking to place fourth or better and earn a berth to the NCAA Division II Championships. Upper Iowa is hosting this year's Championships at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Mar. 9-10.

No. 6 Upper Iowa 22 - Augustana 15
125: Maleek Williams (UIU?) over Brandon Carroll (AU) (Dec 10-3)
133: Josh Walker (UIU) over Brayden Curry (AU) (MD 9-1)
141: Keaten Schorr (AU) over Hunter Slifka (UIU) (Dec 8-2)
149: Damian Penichet (UIU) over Oscar Ramirez-Hernandez Jr (AU) (Dec 7-0)
157: Brock Benitz (UIU) over Bruce Lemon (AU) (Dec 6-3)
165: Regan Bye (AU) over Tucker Black (UIU) (Fall 6:31)
174: Jordan Gundrum (UIU) over Lukas Poloncic (AU) (Fall 4:14)
184: Aero Amo (AU) over Dalton Hahn (UIU) (Dec 3-2)
197: Clayton Wahlstrom (AU) over Jamie Gehling (UIU) (Dec 7-4)
285: Triston Westerlund (UIU) over Luke Nohns (AU) (Dec 7-3)