Iowa Colleges shine at NCAA Division III National Wrestling
Boyer was hardly the only wrestler to draw the thousands of fans that attended both days of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Tournament. The Coe College junior was one of 27 representatives to compete against the best in the country from the Iowa Conference.
Boyer's junior teammate Jimmy Gotto was the only other Kohawk to win a national tournament match. In fact, the 125-pounder made a surprising run all the way to the championship match, giving the hometown fans at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena plenty to cheer for leading into the first title match on Saturday night before falling to top-ranked Ithica senior Ricardo Gomez 4-2.
All told, eight different Iowa Conference wrestlers earned All-American status in NCAA Division III by placing in the top eight in their respective weight classes. Leading the way was Wartburg, who lived up to their number one ranking by sending head coach Jim Miller off into retirement with a third straight national championship and 10th overall.
The Knights rolled away from Wisconsin-Whitewater in the team standings with 103 points to second-place Elmhurt’s 82. Top-ranked Kenneth Anderson capped a perfect season by winning the only individual state title for the northern Iowa school with a 9-1 major decision over Wisconsin-Whitewater’s seventh-ranked Grant Sutter in the 133-pound final.
Even more fans are hoped to be back in Cedar Rapids for next year’s NCAA Division III Wrestling national meet, which will be Mar. 14-15 in 2014 at the newly renovated Convention Center.
State pride to be showcased at NCAA Division I Nationals this weekend
A four-week stretch that has made Iowa the capital state for the sport of wrestling will conclude this weekend with the biggest event on the college level for the sport. The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships get under way today at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, the home for the epic Iowa High School State Wrestling Meet.
Large crowds are expected to make their way through the turnstiles throughout the three days of competition, many of whom will be rooting for the home schools with Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa sending 19 different wrestlers to compete. Of those wrestlers, nine were born in the Hawkeye State and have some experience wrestling in big matches in Des Moines.
There are also five wrestlers from Iowa communities that will be making their homestate returns this week. Two redshirt seniors from Nebraska, Ridge Kiley and Josh Ihnen, along with Stanford redshirt junior Bret Baumbach, Northern Illinois redshirt junior Matt Mougin and Oklahoma State redshirt sophomore Julian Feikert were all born in the Hawkeye State.
Ihnen has the best record of those five Iowa-born wrestlers representing schools from outside the state at nationals. Looking to join in the footsteps of the legendary brothers Terry and current Iowa head coach Tom Brands, the 24-6 Nebraska Cornhusker Ihnen will be looking to become the most recent Sheldon Orab to win an NCAA wrestling title as he competes at 184 pounds.
Ihnen's Cornhusker teammate Kiley will also be looking for a national title at 141 in his final collegiate season. The Eagle Grove native is 14-11 on the year.
Closer to southern Iowa, Keokuk-born Feikert brings a 21-17 record into the NCAA meet in his redshirt sophomore season for national team title hopeful Oklahoma State. Former Columbus Junction standout Matt Mougin also will look to represent southern Iowa proudly this week as the Northern Illinois redshirt junior sports a 22-15 record at 174 pounds.
The long road trip from Council Bluffs to Des Moines will seem much shorter for Bret Baumbach, who returns to Iowa to compete at 165 pounds after moving much further west for his college career. The redshirt junior represents Stanford this week at Wells Fargo Arena, entering the national tournament with a 22-10 record.
The three-day, six-session NCAA Division I Wrestling championships get underway with first-round matches starting at 11 a.m. The finals begin Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. and, new this year, will begin with the 174-pound title match.
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