Upper Iowa secured a place in the top eight at the NWCA National Duals for the eleventh time in the last twelve years including the last eight straight. The Peacocks went 2-1 on the first day of the National Duals and are one of eight teams still standing out of the original sixteen that lined up Friday morning. UIU won 16 of the 30 matches on the day, but claimed 10 bonus-point wins to secure an extra 24 points thanks to seven wins by fall and three major decisions. The Peacocks defeated West Liberty University (RV) 36-12 and Gannon University (RV) 24-12 around a 27-12 loss to No. 2 St. Cloud State University.
Upper Iowa and three other teams will be battling for fifth place beginning Saturday morning, while St. Cloud State, No. 3 Notre Dame College, the No. 1 University of Nebraska-Kearney and No. 5 McKendree University will battle for the team title.
The Peacocks opened their weekend in Louisville with a 36-12 win over West Liberty thanks to seven wins including five by fall. Upper Iowa surrendered a medical forfeit at 141 pounds, as well as decisions at 149 and 197 pounds, but dominated the remainder of the dual. Maleek Williams (No. 10, 125) and Justin Folley (No. 7, 133) secured an early 12-0 lead thanks to a pair of second-period pins. The Hilltoppers pulled within three, 12-9, thanks to the medical forfeit and decision at 141 and 149 pounds, but UIU separated with four straight victories.
Tucker Black earned a 7-3 decision at 157 pounds to kick off the 18-point run for Upper Iowa. Brock Benitz (165) and Jordan Gundrum (174) each scored first-period falls and Dalton Hahn (No. 7, 184) posted a 5-3 decision. Nick Baumler (No. 12) lost a 7-3 decision to Logan Kemp (No. 7) at 197 pounds, but UIU closed the dual with a win by fall when Triston Westerlund (285) got a third-period pin.
UIU met No. 2 St. Cloud State in the quarterfinals; the Huskies entered the dual with a winning streak of 36 consecutive dual match wins. Brett Velasquez (No. 1, 125) used a solid first period to pick up a 7-3 decision over UIU's Williams, but Folley answered for the Peacocks with his second fall of the day (1:49) over SCSU's Garrett Vos (No. 11, 133). Garrett Aldrich put the Huskies back in front at 141 pounds with a second-period fall over Ryan Schmalen, while James Pleski (No. 3) was able to outlast UIU's freshman 149-pounder, Ryan Steffen, 3-2.
Jake Barzowksi (No. 7) kept the momentum with St. Cloud State at 157 pounds thanks to a 16-9 decision over Black giving SCSU a 15-6 lead. Benitz upset SCSU's Devin Fitzpatrick (No. 4, 165) 3-2 thanks to a takedown in the final seconds and stop UIU's three-bout slide. Kolton Eischens (No. 3) scored a 16-0 tech fall at 174 pounds to give the Huskies some cushion, 20-9, and Chance Helmick followed with a 12-4 major decision at 184 pounds to put the dual out of reach, 24-9. Vince Dietz (No. 1, 197) outlasted Baumler (No. 12, 197) 3-1 fueled by a second-period takedown. Triston Westerlund ended the dual on a positive note for UIU winning by a 4-2 decision to set the final score at 27-12.
In UIU's final dual on Saturday, the Peacocks secured a spot in the top eight for the eighth straight year and eleventh time in the last twelve years, but the Golden Knights of Gannon gave UIU all they could handle. Jacob Dunlap opened the dual with an 11-4 win over Williams (No. 10, 125), but Folley (No. 7, 133) put the Peacocks back on top with a 12-2 major for his third bonus-point win of the day. Ryan Schmalen made it a 7-3 lead for Upper Iowa with a late takedown to defeat Nick Young by a 7-6 score. After two wins by the Golden Knights at 149 and 157, the Peacocks found themselves trailing by two, 9-7. Benitz scored his third victory of the day at 165 pounds in style with a 16-3 major decision pushing the Peacocks back out in front, 11-9. Gannon wouldn't go away and snuck by UIU, 12-11, with a decision at 174 pounds. Trailing by one, the Peacocks turned to their three upper weights to take care of business. Hahn (No. 7) scored his second win of the day at 184 pounds, while Baumler (No. 12) posted a 10-2 major at 197 pounds to put Upper Iowa ahead 18-12. Westerlund improved to 3-0 on the day in the final bout and scored a second pin (2:29) to end the dual at 24-12.
Upper Iowa will line up against the No. 8 Lions of Lindenwood University in the consolation semifinals on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET/8 a.m. CT in Freedom Hall. Upper Iowa will face either the No. 13 Bronchos of the University of Central Oklahoma or the No. 7 Cardinals of Wheeling Jesuit University in the fifth or seventh place match at 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT. The second opponent depends on both the UIU-LU and UCO-WJU result.
No. 21 Upper Iowa 36 - West Liberty (RV) 12
- 125 - Maleek Williams (Upper Iowa) over Corey Secrist (West Liberty) Fall 4:51
- 133 - Justin Folley (Upper Iowa) over Steven Slack (West Liberty) Fall 4:16
- 141 - De`Andre Reed (West Liberty) over Wilson Metellus (Upper Iowa) MFF
- 149 - Miles Mazik (West Liberty) over Ryan Steffen (Upper Iowa) Dec 6-5
- 157 - Tucker Black (Upper Iowa) over Josh Cornell (West Liberty) Dec 7-3
- 165 - Brock Benitz (Upper Iowa) over Owen Zeiders (West Liberty) Fall 1:09
- 174 - Jordan Gundrum (Upper Iowa) over Chance Morgan (West Liberty) Fall 1:43
- 184 - Dalton Hahn (Upper Iowa) over Isaiah Myers (West Liberty) Dec 5-3
- 197 - Logan Kemp (West Liberty) over Nick Baumler (Upper Iowa) Dec 7-3
- 285 - Triston Westerlund (Upper Iowa) over Ronnie D`Amico (West Liberty) Fall 5:26
No. 2 St. Cloud State 27 - No. 21 Upper Iowa 12
- 125 - Brett Velasquez (St. Cloud State) over Maleek Williams (Upper Iowa) Dec 7-3
- 133 - Justin Folley (Upper Iowa) over Garrett Vos (St. Cloud State) Fall 1:49
- 141 - Garrett Aldrich (St. Cloud State) over Ryan Schmalen(Upper Iowa) Fall 3:48
- 149 - James Pleski (St. Cloud State) over Ryan Steffen(Upper Iowa) Dec 3-2
- 157 - Jake Barzowski (St. Cloud State) over Tucker Black(Upper Iowa) Dec 16-9
- 165 - Brock Benitz (Upper Iowa) over Devin Fitzpatrick (St. Cloud State) Dec 3-2
- 174 - Kolton Eischens (St. Cloud State) over Jordan Gundrum (Upper Iowa) TF 16-0
- 184 - Chance Helmick (St. Cloud State) over Connor Williams (Upper Iowa) Maj 12-4
- 197 - Vince Dietz (St. Cloud State) over Nick Baumler(Upper Iowa) Dec 3-1
- 285 - Triston Westerlund (Upper Iowa) over Noah Ryan (St. Cloud State) Dec 4-2
No. 21 Upper Iowa 24 - Gannon 12
- 125 - jacob dunlap (Gannon) over Maleek Williams (Upper Iowa) Dec 11-4
- 133 - Justin Folley (Upper Iowa) over austin hertel (Gannon) Maj 12-2
- 141 - Ryan Schmalen (Upper Iowa) over Nick Young (Gannon) Dec 7-6
- 149 - Dom Means (Gannon) over Ryan Steffen (Upper Iowa) Dec 9-5
- 157 - evan fisler (Gannon) over Mac Spotts (Upper Iowa) Dec 7-5
- 165 - Brock Benitz (Upper Iowa) over connor day (Gannon) Maj 16-3
- 174 - joel leise (Gannon) over Jordan Gundrum (Upper Iowa) Dec 8-3
- 184 - Dalton Hahn (Upper Iowa) over anthony williamson (Gannon) Dec 6-3
- 197 - Nick Baumler (Upper Iowa) over freddie nixon (Gannon) Maj 10-2
- 285 - Triston Westerlund (Upper Iowa) over keith swartley (Gannon) Fall 2:29