MSUN Wrestling in 2nd Place after 1st Day of Nationals - News, Sports and Weather

MSUN Wrestling in 2nd Place after 1st Day of Nationals

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Four-time defending national team champion Grand View (Iowa) pushed its team total to 117.5 points in session II action of the 2016 NAIA Wrestling National Championships, presented by USA Wrestling-Kansas. The 59th annual event is taking place at the Kansas Expocentre for the third-straight year.

The Vikings are searching for an unprecedented fifth-straight national title. If Grand View can claim the banner tomorrow night, it will become the only program in NAIA history to accomplish the feat and the fifth program in collegiate wrestling history (NAIA, NJCAA, NCAA) to win five-or-more consecutive championships. The other programs to do so are NCAA Division I Iowa (six-straight (1995-2000) and nine-straight (1978-1986)), NCAA Division I Oklahoma State (seven-straight (1937-1949)), NCAA Division II Cal State-Bakersfield (five-straight (1979-1983)) and NCAA Division II Cal Poly (seven-straight (1968-1974)).

Ten of the 11 qualifiers for Grand View have clinched All-America status. Montana State-Northern, which is in second-place in the team race with 74 points, is next with six All-Americans.

Looking specifically at the championship bracket, 20 different programs have at least one wrestler in the semifinals, including eight from Grand View. Montana State-Northern boasts the second-most semifinalist with four, while Campbellsville (Ky.) and Indiana Tech are tied for third-most with three each.

Three weight classes – 133 pounds, 165 pounds and 197 pounds – fell true to seeds where Nos. 1 – 4 reached the semifinals. The other seven feature at least one grappler not seeded in the top four.

Possibly the most exciting weight class on the evening was at 141 pounds, as Tyler Hinton of Ottawa (Kan.) and Matt Weber Montana State-Northern – both unseeded –upended top-four wrestlers to reach the semifinals for the first time in their careers.

Hinton, a senior from Baltimore, Md., appeared to be on the ropes against Steele Escobedo of Menlo (Calif.). However a defensive fall call against Escobedo ended the match in favor of Hinton. Hinton was Ottawa’s first-ever All-American last year after finishing eighth at 141 pounds.

Weber, who downed No. 8 Tyler Dickman of Baker (Kan.), 3-1 in the second round, knocked off top-seeded Jake Ekster of Missouri Valley, 7-3. The freshman from Forsyth, Mont., was one of 30 national wildcard selections in the field. Ekster, who can still finish as high as third-place, clinched his fourth All-America honor with a dominant 14-4 win in the consolation bracket. The senior has never finished worse than third in three previous trips to the national championship, including a runner-up finish in 2015.

No. 3 seed Tyler Fraley of Williams Baptist (Ark.) and No. 2 seed Andrew Schulte of Concordia (Neb.) round out the semifinals at 141. Fraley (18-0) has not lost on the year, while Schulte (38-6) has won 24-straight matches.

History was made at 157 pounds, as Colby Crank of Baker (Kan.) advanced to the semifinals for his second-straight appearance en route to a fourth All-America honor, while Nathen Pristavec of Brewton-Parker (Ga.) became the program’s first-ever All-American with a 5-3 win over Oklahoma City’s Zach Skates.

Similar to Pristavec, Blake Cooper of Warner Pacific (Ore.) sealed the institution’s first All-America award since the program was restarted a few years ago. The Knights only other All-American was David Storey, who finished sixth in 1973. Cooper – the top-seeded wrestler at 165 pounds – will face-off against Taylor Hodel of Dickinson State (N.D.) tomorrow with a title shot on the line.

Cooper was later joined by teammate Steven Wilbert, who advanced past Justin Smith of Missouri Valley in the second tiebreaker on riding time to guarantee a place at 285 pounds.

Back-to-back championship dreams are still alive for defending national champions Davion Caston of Campbellsville (133 pounds), Ricky McCarty of Oklahoma City (165 pounds) and Gabi Musallam of Missouri Valley (285), as all three are in the semifinals.

Other notable performances came from Grand View’s Michael Pixley at 184 pounds and Garrett DeMers of Montana State-Northern at 197 pounds. Pixley – a national runner-up a year ago – pinned his quarterfinal opponent in 22 seconds. DeMers, who was also a national runner-up in 2015, has won by fall in both of his matches thus far. DeMers is now a three-time All-American, while Pixley locked up his second award.

Session III action is scheduled to begin Saturday morning at 10 a.m. CST.

The University of Great Falls had one wrestler advance to the semifinals: Luke Schlosser of Conrad at 125 pounds.

Click here for the updated bracket.

Team Standings:

1. Grand View (Iowa) 117.5

2. Montana State-Northern 74.0

3. Indiana Tech 56.5

4. Campbellsville (Ky.) 52.5

5. Missouri Valley 48.5

6. Doane (Neb.) 41.0

7. Southern Oregon 38.0

8. Oklahoma City 37.5

9. Concordia (Neb.) 34.0

10. Dickinson State 33.5

10. Wayland Baptist (Texas) 33.5

12. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 31.0

13. Baker (Kan.) 30.0

14. Williams Baptist (Ark.) 29.0

15. Life (Ga.) 27.0

16. York (Neb.) 20.5

17. Midland (Neb.) 20.0

17. Morningside (Iowa) 20.0

19. Northwestern (Iowa) 19.5

20. Cumberland (Tenn.) 18.0

21. Great Falls (Mont.) 17.5

21. Warner Pacific (Ore.) 17.5

23. Menlo (Calif.) 17.0

24. Cumberlands (Ky.) 16.0

24. Ottawa (Kan.) 16.0

26. Simpson (Calif.) 11.5

27. Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 10.5

28. Jamestown (N.D.) 10.0

29. Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 9.5

30. Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 7.0

30. St. Catharine (Ky.) 7.0

32. Briar Cliff (Iowa) 6.5

33. Missouri Baptist 5.5

34. William Penn (Iowa) 5.0

35. Davenport (Mich.) 4.5

36. Central Baptist (Ark.) 4.0

36. Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 4.0

38. Graceland (Iowa) 3.0

38. Hastings (Neb.) 3.0

38. Southeastern (Fla.) 3.0

41. Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) 1.0

42. Lyon (Ark.) 0.5

43. Bacone (Okla.) 0.0

43. Benedictine (Kan.) 0.0

43. Calumet (Ind.) 0.0

46. Bethany (Kan.) -1.0


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