Another college season has come and gone. What can be said about Grand View winning their eighth straight NAIA National title? They didn't set a scoring record but they did out distance second place Lindsey Wilson 219 to 85. Grand View placed all twelve guys that qualified for the tournament. With six in the finals they came away with two champions in Josh Wenger and Evan Hansen. Also placing were two former Mason City preps Andrew and Isaac Bartel, who wrestle for Montana State Northern. Andrew placed 3rd while Isaac was a runner-up to Hansen of Grand View. Next year the national tournament will be back in Wichita, Kansas after two years in Des Moines.
The NCAA Division III tournament may have taken an unexpected turn. Wartburg finished sixth, which was probably a surprise. And what may have been just as big a surprise was Loras finishing as runner-up. Augsburg won by a 130-66 margin but Loras did have five All Americans. That was the most in school history as well at the teams highest finish. Also nice to see former Iowa preps competing out of state. Braden Birt, (Western Dubuque, Milikin) injury defaulted to sixth, while Ben Sarasin of Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Chicago finished seventh.
The Division II had Upper Iowa finishing in 15th place with two All Americans. Nick Baumler finished in 3rd and Justin Foley was seventh at 133.
The NJCAA National Championships saw Iowa Central finish in third, Ellsworth in fifth, Iowa Lakes seventh, Iowa Western tenth and NIACC in thirteenth. Iowa Central had eight All Americans with four finalists and two champions in Ethan Karsten and Tyree Sutton. Ellworth had four All Americans and all made the finals with Cardeionte Wilson being the champion. What a great place to start and pursue your dreams to wrestle at the next level.
At the Division I level there are a lot of story lines that can be had. Iowa State finishes in 16th place after a 45th place finish a year ago. It's been a good climb this year. Willie Miklus finished his career by becoming a four time All American. Three of those were at Missouri, with the last at Iowa State. It was really great to hear the Missouri crowd chanting for Miklus. That's what makes wrestling special. Northern Iowa finished in 13th place. It was their highest finish in the Doug Schwab era. They also had their first national champion since Tony Davis won in 2000. Drew Foster's story is inspirational. He is proof that it can be done if you work hard and put your mind to it. Just hard work and setting high goals. He came in as the number six seed and finished as National Champion. Iowa finished in fourth place with six All Americans. Spencer Lee defended his title at 125 from his number three seed. Iowa will have the six returning All Americans as well as Michael Kemerer, who sat out due to injury. He finished fourth and third the last two years. With seven returning, Iowa could make a run for a national title.
There is a great lineup for the North/South All Star meet in Charles City on April 13. Be sure to come out and watch some outstanding high school wrestling.
The freestyle/greco season is getting underway as well. These are alsways fun to watch and is my downtime from the rigors of the year.