Now we get to Iowa’s third head of the big three programs in Division III wrestling. Last season Coe was one of the three schools Iowa placed into the top ten at the NCAA championships, but knowing head coach John Oostendorp he is looking for even more in the 2015-16 season. Coe sent five NCAA qualifiers to last year’s championships and with just three All-Americans still took the a seventh place finish. Two of those wrestlers return for 2016 and motivation will be at an all-time high.
For starters, this year’s NCAA championships take place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In other words, just down the street from Coe College itself. Not only that, but Coe also gets one half of the IIAC duals and Wartburg all in Cedar Rapids. If you are a Coe College fan, not only are you excited about the returning lineup, but the home schedule has to be the best in the entire conference.
We start in the lineup by looking at the biggest hammer 165 pound senior Farai Sewera who is coming off a 2015 NCAA title at this weight. Sewera was actually the #2 seed at the NCAA championships this past March, but he has already proven that he can win it all and he will in fact be the favorite for 2016.
He is followed in the lineup by another All-American, fourth place finisher junior Ryan Harrington at 174 pounds. Harrington made it all the way to the semifinals as a sophomore last season, and picked up his 20th victory of the year in the consolation semifinals. Harrington will be one of the top wrestlers in the nation at 174 pounds.
At 125 pounds Coe returns it’s third NCAA qualifier Jan Rosenburg, who was also a 20 match winner in 2015. While Rosenburg will be the favorite for his spot, fans out to keep an eye on 2013 Iowa high school state champion Fletcher Green, who will push the NCAA qualifier making this a deep weight for the Kohawks.
From there the lineup is full of returning faces and chief among them is senior heavyweight Creighton Fox. Fox competed in a tough bracket at the NCAA regional qualifier losing to eventual All-American Conner Herman of Luther for the final automatic berth. Fox won over 20 matches in 2015 and should be in contention for a NCAA spot.
A pair of in-state sophomores will battle it out at 133 pounds with returning starter Brady Ruden the favorite. The 2014 state champion will be pushed by Mike Gussarson of Antioch, Iowa. In 2015 Ruden complied 18 wins for Coe and took fifth at Regionals.
Seniors Luke Kremer and Josh Donkle both return at 141 and 149 pounds respectively for the Kohawks, but again they will have to earn their spot. Kremer will be pushed by sophomore Levi Azinger, and Donkle will be pushed by sophomore Tomello Mojaras. Pennsylvania freshman Frank Carrozza is another name to watch at 149 pounds.
125 Jan Rosenburg JR or Fletcher Green SO
133 Brady Ruden SO or Mike Gussarson SO
141 Luke Kremer SR or Levi Azinger SO
149 Josh Donkle SR or Tomello Monjaras SO or Frank Carrozza FR
157 Cody Fritz JR or Caleb Wedeking FR
165 Farai Sewera SR
174 Ryan Harrington JR
184 Garrett Kelson JR or Josh Allen SO
197 Casey Rohert JR or Andrew Holladay SO
285 Creighton Fox SR
From there we get into the new faces in the Coe lineup. Brody Beck doesn’t appear to be back for 2016 so junior Cody Fritz and freshman Caleb Wedeking will be two names to watch at 157 pounds. This past year at the Iowa high school state championships Wedeking lost 5-3 in the quarterfinals, but later avenged that lost 2-1 in the third place match.
After that coach Oostendorp just needs to replace NCAA qualifier Ryan Sheldon and All-American Donnie Horner. While losing both of those wrestlers will hurt, junior Garrett Kelson and sophomore Josh Allen will try and fill Sheldon’s shoes at 184, and junior Casey Rohert and sophomore Andrew Holladay will try and do the same at 197.
It is hard to not mention former West Delaware prep Jake Voss, who will be the backup at 165 pounds. Despite being a long shot to make the lineup, I felt it needed to be mentioned that Voss joined the Iowa record books when he amassed 160 wins during his time at West Delaware.
Looking over the Coe lineup I would expect some big things out of the 2016 Kohawk team. While they might not return the firepower that Wartburg does, they certainly have plenty of their own big names, and get the benefit of wrestling all the big matches right in their backyard.