Vikings Three-Peat as National Wrestling Champions, Tie NAIA Scoring Record
Grand View cruised to its third-straight team championship after tying an NAIA record with 193 total team points – an NAIA record 108.5 points more than the next team – in the 2014 NAIA Wrestling National Champions at the Kansas Expocentre.
Check out the celebration video here:
Grand View, which is the eighth team in NAIA history to win at least three national titles, is the fourth program to win three-straight since Lindenwood (Mo.) claimed three-consecutive banners in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Additionally, the Vikings team total tied former member Dana’s (Neb.) 2006 point total, which previously stood as the national record.
Grand View ended the event with four individual national champions, highlighted by three-time All-American Eric Thompson. The senior 285 pounder controlled the entire match against first-time All-American Courtney Freeman of Cumberlands (Ky.), eventually grinding out a 17-2 technical fall win. With the victory, Thompson becomes the first three-time national champion at the heavyweight division since Jeff Thue of Simon Fraser (B.C.) accomplished the feat in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Thompson ends his career with a 14-0 all-time record at the national championships.
In addition to Thompson, Ryak Finch (125), Brandon Wright (141) and Chad Lowman (165) claimed national crowns, while Gustavo Martinez (141) and Dallas Houchins (157) finished runner-up after dropping a 2-1 and 5-3 decisions.
Finch ended the season with a perfect 29-0 record after a 9-3 decision over Josh Heinzer of Midland (Neb.) to earn his first national title.
Teammates Gustavo Martinez and Brandon Wright faced off against each other in the championship at 141. At the end of regulation, the score was tied 1-1, but Wright owned a riding time advantage and took the 2-1 decision to win his first title.
Chad Lowman, who was the fifth Viking to take the mat, won his second-straight national champion with a 7-5 victory over three-time All-American Ethan Hinebauch of Montana State-Northern. The 165-pound senior won his first national title last season at 157 pounds.
Overall, Grand View had a school record 11 of its 12 qualifiers earn All-America honors. In addition to the national champions, Andrew Clark (7th-125), Brandon Benvenuti (6th-133), Martinez (2nd-141), Quinten Haynes (3rd-157), Houchins (2nd-157), Jimmie Schuessler (3rd-174), and Christian Mays (5th-184) earned All-American status.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Viking head coach Nick Mitchell was voted as the NAIA National Coach of the Year, the second such honor in his six-year career at Grand View.
You can be part of the celebration with an official National Championship shirt or cap. You can start placing orders online on Monday, or by calling the Grand View bookstore directly. There is a short sleeve t-shirt at $15.99 and a long sleeve t-shirt at $21.99. Both shirts are black, 100% pre-shrunk cotton. The cap is priced at $22.95.