The Wartburg Knights locked up their 12th national championship in dominating fashion today, placing five wrestlers in the finals and three others in the placement matches. Kenneth Martin, Drew Wagenhoffer, Nichoals Michael, Eric Devos, and Gerard Roman all secured their place in the finals tonight, while Arnulfo Olea took home 5th place, Lance Evans and Conoor Campo took 7th.
Eric Devos’ win at 174 pounds was especially special, because it was the match that locked up the title for the Knights. They ended the second session with 125.5 points, Messiah College finished in 2nd with 91, and Luther sits in third with 59.
Luther’s third place effort came from it’s only finalist in Drew Van Anrooy at 141 pounds. Van Anrooy took down Justin Kihn from Heidelberg 2-0 in their semifinal match to advance to tonight’s championship. He’ll face the #2 seed Jimmy Nehls from Elmhurst.
The Norse also had four other men in the medal round. Justin Kreiter lost a tough match, 3-2 to AJ Kowal of Stevens Institute of Technology. Tristan Zurfluh won 3-1 to earn 5th place, Dakota Gary took home 6th place at 149 pounds, and heavyweight Conner Herman took home 8th to end the session.
Cornell College put one man in the finals in Trevor Engle at 149 pounds. Engle defeated Seth Hansberry 5-3 to secure his spot tonight. He talked a bit about the match and what he expects from Wartburg’s Martin earlier today. Cornell also had Phillip Opelt place 6th on the consolation side.
The Coe Kohawks didn’t have any men make the finals, but they did have three make the medal round. 125 pounder Jan Rosenberg and 165 pounder Farai Sewera took 8th at their respective weights, while 174 pounder Ryan Harrington had a really nice win for third place.
Central College placed only one man, but they made the most of it as 125 pounder CJ Pestano won in the semifinals. He won 5-3 in the first tiebreaker to secure his place in the finals against the #1 seed Lucas Malmberg from Messiah.
Loras College saw 197 pounder Malcolm Watson place 8th in the second sudden victory period, 4-2, after wrestling back through the entire consolation bracket.
1. Wartburg 125.5
2. Messiah 91.0
3. Luther 59.0
4. Augsburg 46.5
4. Wabash 46.5
6. Wisconsin-La Crosse 37.0
7. Stevens Institute Of Technology 34.0
8. Elmhurst 33.0
9. SUNY-Cortland 31.5
10. Cornell College 30.5
11. Alma College 30.0
12. Coe 28.5
13. Lycoming 28.0
14. Ithaca 26.5
15. Washington and Jefferson 23.0
Session 3 attendance: 2,311
All photos courtesy of Mark Lundy