Viking Wrestlers Defend National Title, Four Individual Champs
Viking fans couldn't ask for a more exciting finish to this year's NAIA Wrestling Championships that wrapped up Saturday night in Des Moines.
Grand View owned a seven point lead over Southern Oregon going into the final round. Without much of a cushion, the Vikings had to take care of business of the mat to secure their second straight national team title.
Southern Oregon won both the 125 and 133 weight classes to take the lead from Grand View going into the 141 match.
Gustavo Martinez (Marshalltown, Iowa) was GV's first individual champion of the night. After a scoreless first period, Martinez took the lead against Myles Mazurkiewicz of Great Falls (Mont.) with an escape in the second period. He went ahead 3-1 with a takedown in the third period and earned a penalty point after two cautions against Mazurkiewicz followed by takedown with eight seconds left in the third period to earn a 5-2 decision and his first national title at 141 pounds.
Isaiah Tatum (Galesburg, Ill.) was up next at 149 for GV. Tatum battled until the end, but fell short as Jimmy Eggemeyer of Southern Oregon pulled ahead on an escape late in the third period to win 3-2.
Chad Lowman (Des Moines, Iowa) scored a takedown in the first period of the 157 bout. Joe Cozart of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) pulled within one with an escape in the second period. Lowman then had an escape in the thirds period to pull out the 3-1 decision and win his first national championship.
Jimmie Schuessler (Slater, Iowa) came up with another big win for Grand View in the 165 championship match. Eric Lopez of Menlo (Calif.) took a 3-0 lead in the second period. Schuessler closed the gap 3-1 on an escape in the final seconds of the period. In the final period, Schuessler escaped to get within a point of Lopez and with 22 seconds got a huge takedown and held on for the 4-3 win and his first title.
Going into the final match-up of the night 285, a win by Eric Thompson (Shell Rock, Iowa) meant another team title for Grand View, while a loss made Southern Oregon co-champs of the tournament.
Thompson went up against rival Brandon Gebhardt of Baker (Kan.) Gebhardt broke Thompson's 52-match win streak back on December 16. The two met again February 16 at the Central National Qualifier with Thompson pinning Gebhardt in 32 seconds.
Thompson led 2-0 after take down 40 seconds into the first period. Gebhardt had an escape, but Thompson answered with another takedown to lead 4-1. Two minutes into the match, Thompson was able to get Gebhardt on his back, scored the fall to earn his second straight individual title and give Grand View is second consecutive team championship.
Grand View finished with 159 points followed by Southern Oregon's 153 points. Montana State-Northern was third with 104 points.
At the conclusion of the night, Nick Mitchell was recognized by the NWCA as their Coach of the Year. GV went undefeated in dual action this season (15-0), won the Keen National Duals for the second straight year, its third consecutive NAIA Central Qualifying Tourney title, repeated as national team champs, and had a record-setting four individual national champions.
Highlight videos from the finals.