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It was a busy weekend in the wrestling world and Division III programs around the country were taking advantage of the opportunity to compete. Multiple DIII wrestlers made the trek to Omaha, Nebraska to compete in freestyle and Greco-Roman at UWW Juniors and Universities. #19 Adrian College also hosted a competitive invitational this past weekend, this was the first NCAA competition that took place this season. The field included DIII Trine University, #7 NAIA-Indiana Institute of Technology, and NAIA-Thomas More University.
Multiple DIII wrestlers found the podium in Greco-Roman at the Juniors age level. #1 Wartburg College and #12 Loras College led the way with two of their respective wrestlers securing All-American honors. Freshman Matthew Doyle took 6th at 72 KG and sophomore Eli Pannell walked away with a bronze medal at 130 KG for Wartburg. Loras freshman Tyler Hannah cruised into the 87 KG finals with three technical falls but settled for silver and freshman Abe Michel took 7th at 77 KG. 2020 NCAA Qualifier George Mosley of Averett had a nice showing in the 77 KG bracket as well, he took 4th. The final placer in Juniors Greco was sophomore Floyd Miller of Buena Vista, he took 8th place at 82 KG.
Loras College secured one more All-American at the Junior age level in sophomore Dakoda Powell. Powell competed in the 125 KG bracket. Powell dropped his first bout of the weekend but showed a lot grit in the consolations by rattling off three wins to secure a top-8 finish.
DIII wrestlers had a nice showing in Greco-Roman to start the weekend. Three current DIII wrestlers found the podium plus an additional three who recently graduated from DIII institutions. Senior Samuel Braswell of Averett, sophomore Trent Ragland of Averett, and sophomore Brady Vogel of Loras all placed in their respective brackets. The Averett duo both took home bronze, Braswell went 3-1 at 55 KG and Ragland went 2-1 at 130 KG. Vogel followed up his Senior Nationals performance with another solid performance, he secured two wins and a fourth place finish at 97 KG.
Four-time All-American and 2020 #1 seed Guy Patron Jr. for Loras College had a great performance at 87 KG. Patron started his tournament with a pin and then followed that up with a first period technical fall in the semi-finals. Patron's run for the title was stopped by 2020 Big Ten finalist Cam Caffey of Michigan State. Patron has a bright future in Greco, his style transitions over well and I think he will be a constant contender at the senior level circuit. Another Loras alumni had a nice showing as well, Eddie Smith found the podium at Senior Nationals and did it again this past weekend at U23. Smith finished in 3rd at 77 KG and will be another wrestler to keep your eye on in the Greco circuit. Ryan Epps had an unfortunate end to his weekend, he sustained an injury in the semi-finals at 77 KG and needed to medical forfeit to a 6th place finish. Hoping it’s nothing serious for the former two-time NCAA champion and we see him back on the mat soon!
Two current DIII wrestlers found the podium in freestyle, Grant Zamin and Kobe Woods. The senior from Wisconsin La Crosse looked sharp this past weekend at 74 KG. Zamin is the preseason #1 at 157 and is primed for a title run in 2021. Zamin recorded four wins this past weekend and finished in eighth place in a loaded 74 KG bracket. Two of Zamin’s losses came to the wrestlers that finished 3rd and 4th in the bracket by a combined three points. Kobe Woods of Wartburg College had a disappointing end to the 2020 season but proved he is going to be a real threat at 197 this coming season. Woods was a few seconds away from making the semi-finals in the 97 KG bracket but dropped a tough quarterfinal bout. Woods rebounded nicely and took fourth at 97 KG, he recorded three wins and two were by bonus. Woods will look to carry this momentum into the 2021 season, he is currently ranked #11 at 197. Central College alumni Duncan Lee had a nice performance at 97 KG as well. The #3 seed at the 2020 NCAA championships at 285 took 5th this past weekend.
It is worth noting that North Central had two of their studs entered, #1 Robbie Precin and #2 Coldy Baldridge. Both had good showings in their respective brackets. Precin went 3-2 in the 61 KG Junior Freestyle bracket and Baldridge reached the quarterfinals at 86 KG in the U23 freestyle bracket.
Kudos to the Adrian College administration for allowing the school to host an invitational this past weekend! The invitational had a competitive field with one top-10 team from NAIA plus solid squads in Thomas More and Trine. #19 Adrian made it a successful debut to the 2020-21 season, the bulldogs won the team title thanks to three individual champs and multiple wrestlers reaching the podium. Zach Altman, Derek Duvall, and #4 Isaiah Espinoza all claimed gold in their respective brackets. Espinoza was extremely impressive by recording three pinfalls on his way to the title. Altman and Duvall both recorded four wins during their title runs at 165 and 174, respectively. Overall the Bulldogs showed a lot of depth as they finished the day with 32 top-8 placers.
Trine University was led by junior Owen Conklin who finished as the runner-up in the 165 bracket. The Thunder also had two individuals take bronze, freshmen Jett Boots at 125 and Jacob Jackson at 285. Overall Trine had eight overall placers this past Saturday.
For full results of the Adrian Invitational click here.