DUBUQUE — A program record eight Wartburg wrestlers won championships and nine total Knights advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships Sunday at the Lower Midwest Regional.
Top-ranked Wartburg also won the regional team title for the sixth consecutive year and head coach Eric Keller was named Regional Coach of the Year.
Brennen Doebel (125), Brock Rathbun (133), Cross Cannone (149), Logan Thomsen (157), Mike Ross (165), Eric DeVos (174), Tyler Lutes (184) and Kyle Fank (197) won championships for the Knights. Top-ranked Lance Evans (285) bounced back from a semifinal defeat to take third place and punch his ticket to nationals.
“We could have had one more guy. That’s where my heart and head are now,” said Wartburg’s Keller. “There are things we have to get better at, but we learned a lot. The high level of competition does prepare you for the national tournament.”
In Sunday morning’s semifinals, Rathbun won a 17-3 decision, Ross pinned his opponent in 1:04, DeVos racked up an 18-2 technical fall and Lutes and Fank won by major decisions, 14-3 and 15-4, respectively.
It was more of the same in the finals. Doebel and Cannone won by medical forfeits with Cannone improving to 30-0 on the season.
The second-ranked Thomsen and top-ranked Ross won major decisions and Lutes, also ranked second, pinned his championship opponent.
DeVos, a defending national champion and ranked No. 1 at 174, fought off fifth-ranked Jake Voss of Coe 6-2 for his title.
“There are a few matches you want to get back, but the momentum is where we want it to be,” he said. “We’re wrestling better every time we wrestle.”
Luther’s top finish was a fourth by Billy Poray at 165 pounds. Kyle Clough (133) and Gilbert Valadez (149) were sixth.
Lower Midwest Regional
Team leaders — 1. Wartburg 181.5, 2. Loras 130, 3. Coe 97, 4. Central 78.5, 5. North Central 77.5, 6. Cornell 65.5, 7. Millikin 61.5, 8. U. of the Ozarks 49, 9. Dubuque 39.5, 10. Luther 37.5.
125 — Brennen Doebel (Wart) won by medical forfeit over Clarren Pestano (Central).
133 — Brock Rathbun (Wart) dec. Brendan Gould (Aug), 10-4.
141 — Kevin Kelly (Loras) dec. Chris Williams (Millikin), 3-2.
149 — Cross Cannone (Wart) won by medical forfeit over Jimmy Davis (Loras).
157 — Logan Thomsen (Wart) maj. dec. Cole Erickson (Coe), 8-0.
165 — Mike Ross (Wart) maj. dec. Ben Hewson (Cornell), 8-0.
174 — Eric DeVos (Wart) dec. Jake Voss (Coe), 6-2.
184 — Tyler Lutes (Wart) pinned Keajion Jennings (Millikin), 4:12.
197 — Kyle Fank (Wart) dec. Guy Patron (Loras), 6-1.
285 — Quin Gilliam (Loras) dec. Tyler Ortmann (Cornell), 3-1, SV1.