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By Alex Peitz
Coaches will have tough decisions to make come Nationals.
Nick Mitchell’s Grand View wrestling team has enough depth to assemble two to three quality NAIA wrestling programs. The 45 wrestlers that are not redshirting are all trying to lock up their spot on the team of 12 that will be sent to Topeka, Kansas to represent the Vikings at the National Tournament. Here is a weight by weight breakdown of the Grand View squad that looks to find its fourth national title in as many years. They open the season this Saturday, November 8th at Hilton Coliseum in Ames for the Cyclone Open.
125- One of Grand View’s two returning champs, Ryak Finch, is back at 125, where he hasn’t lost yet in a Viking singlet (29-0). New Jersey product and former juco All American Tristen Bundy (ICCC) may see time. These two will help groom four freshman, including Grimes native Trevor Murano.
133– Two juniors look to battle it out for the top spot here: 2x juco All American Jacob Colon has transitioned nicely from Fort Dodge to Des Moines. He and Miami product Jacob Grant (21-9) have battled a lot so far this year. Former Clinton grad Hunter Genco is a freshman to be aware of at this weight class.
141- Brandon Wright went 25-4 in his impressive route to his first national title last year and expects nothing less than a repeat. RS sophomore Walker Marshall (Missouri Valley, IA) had 25 wins last year and has a gas tank. Tanner Werner is ready to put on a singlet after missing last year with a torn ACL. The Waverly, IA native stands six feet tall and has ten feet of limbs to use and is ready to annoy his opponents this year. Freshman John Gioffredi (Indianola, IA) is adapting well to the Grand View room and could have a great future.
149- This weight will be very interesting to watch this year, a lot of things could happen: 2x finalist Gustavo Martinez is bumping up from 141, but it won’t be easy for him. Senior David Kellogg (Grimes,IA) is hungry this year and has a lot of experience in a Grand View singlet. Des Moines North alumni Brian Warren was a state champ in high school and is a solid college wrestler. Add Ivy League transfer and former Iowa City West standout Elijah Sullivan into the mix and you have a pretty stacked weight class.
157- Redshirt Junior Dallas Houchins went 25-10 in route to a second place finish last year and is very anxious to get back to nationals. NAIA’s 2013 149 lb. runner up Isaiah Tatum returns to the mat after sustaining season ending injuries in a car accident last year. Both look to gain their third All American honors this season. RS Freshman Grant Henderson (Alburnett, IA) loves to wrestle and could stir things up a bit at 157 as well.
165- 3x All American and 2013 National champ Jimmie Schuessler (30-5) headlines a solid group of 65 pounders. Ankeny Native Derrick Huber has really grown into the weight class and Jacob Blackwell, a Cali Juco transfer himself has held his own in the room so far. Nate Stadeker (Chicago, Illinois) is a senior and more than likely has some tricks rolled up his sleeves. Freshman Lawton Benna (Wentzville, MO) hasn’t shied away from scrapping with the veterans so far, which is a good tell-tale sign for the future.
174- What’s happening at 149 can be said here as well. 2013 All American Thomas Moman is back after redshirting. Dylan Blackford was a solid 24-9 in his redshirt year and looks to have improved a lot over the summer. Former Iowa high school standouts Cody Swim (Indianola) and Justin Koethe (Iowa City West) want to go to nationals just as bad though.
184- Christian May received All American honors in Topeka last year while going 26-10. Charles City native Dalton Schutjer has been with Grand View a long time and hopes to make a name for himself in his final year. Redshirt Sophomores John Orscheln (Moberly, MO) and Logan Kellogg (Clear Lake, IA) are solid wrestlers with potential to make noise.
197- Returning national qualifier AJ Mott (Clifton, New Jersey) went 19-9 last season and has beefed up to try and gather AA honors after coming up a match short last year. Cali boy Derrick Hawkins went 16-12 last year. Redshirt Junior Dalton Peterson has had knee problems the few years, but brings a bunch of talent and athleticism to the weight class. .
HWT- With 3x national champ Eric Thompson graduating last year, the heavyweight spot has opened up. I doubt people will start leaving GV duals and events early because Grand Views first heavyweight to gain All American honors, Bojan Djukic, returns after a three year hiatus (note: Djukic is a 3x all American) to try to get a national title of his own. West Delaware native and redshirt freshman Dean Broghammer was 27-9 last year and can roll around with as much funk as the lighter weights. I wouldn’t leave out Washington native Jake Laden either.