By Rob Everingham
ST. CHARLES, Mo. 3-Peat!
The MSU-Northern wrestlers brought home their third consecutive NAIA National Wrestling Championship last weekend, placing 11 All-Americans and winning with 137.5 points.
In second place was No. 1-ranked Missouri Valley with 118.5 points. The University of Mary finished third with 115.
"I didn't expect it," Northern head coach David Ray said.
Ray said he knew his team had the talent going into the tournament, but was unsure if they had it mentally to win the title.
The Lights had two individual champions in Jason Fratzke at 133 pounds, and three-time national champion Turk Lords.
At 125 pounds, Abel Valdez finished fourth. In the third-place match, he fell to Pat Runez of the University of Mary in a 10-3 decision.
Fratzke beat Brian Beil of May in a 12-6 decision. Fratzke came in ranked fifth and beat the No. 1 seed Lukie Christian of Missouri Valley in the semifinals.
Jessie Schaeffer finished seventh at 141 pounds, beating Jessie Beckler of Dickinson State by pin at the 1:44 mark. Schaeffer and Beckler met in the finals of the Great Plains Regional with Schaeffer winning that match as well.
At 149 pounds, Lyle Cronk finished fifth. Cronk beat Dusty Sanders of Embry-Riddle by fall at the 4:10 mark.
Tamien Labuff finished eighth at 157 pounds, losing to Brian Campbell of Embry-Riddle in the seventh-place match, 19-9.
Also at 157 pounds, Northern's Brendan Burns finished fourth. Burns fell to Ryan Alfau of Cumberland (Kentucky) in a 10-8 decision.
Light Chris Hayes finished sixth losing a fifth-place match 11-6 in overtime to Demetrio Duran of Embry-Riddle.
Mark Lane was unsuccessful in defending his national crown at 174 pounds. Lane finished fifth, beating Matt Deck of Embry-Riddle in an 11-4 decision.
At 184 pounds, Tyson Thivierge made it to the championship match, but fell to Jeremy Engelhardt of Mary in a 7-6 decision.
Lords met Brian Sislo of Findlay at 197 pounds in the finals and Lords dominated the match, winning a 5-0 decision.
At heavyweight, Damion Martindale finished in seventh place, defeating Al Bilins of Missouri Valley by injury default.
Northern's final wrestler was also at heavyweight in Dane Jacobsen. Jacobsen lost out in the consolation round and did not make it into a placing match.
Ray said his team really wanted the national title.
"They were hungry," Ray said.
Fratzke joined the Lights at the start of the spring semester, transferring from Hutchinson College in Minnesota.
Ray said Fratzke was on the tougher side of the bracket, having to wrestler all the higher seeds.
"He looked good in the finals, like Turk with that kind of strength," Ray said of Fratzke.
Fratzke said he just wanted to go in and wrestle hard and give it his best shot.
"It feels good, I wasn't expecting it," Fratzke said.
Against Beil in the finals he was very confident, Fratzke said. Fratzke had pinned Beil at the Great Plains Regional.
The toughest match for Fratzke was the semifinal match, he said.
Fratzke said he felt if he could win the semifinal against No. 1-ranked Christian, he would have a great shot in the championship.
"He was the guy to beat," Fratzke said.
This is Fratzke's first team and individual national title.
"It feels good," Fratzke said. "It is cool when everybody on the team is good; it makes it fun."
As for Lords, Ray said, he only had one match at the national tournament where he was tentative. Ray said in the semi-finals Lords was wrestling more to not lose than wrestling to win.
At the same time, some other defending champions had just gotten beat and other Northern wrestlers were losing.
In the final, though, Lords had a take-down just four seconds into the match.
Lords said was very excited about his third national title.
"I knew we'd be in the top three," Lords said. "I didn't think we'd win it."
Lords said everybody stepped up and came together as a team and backed each other up.
This is also Lords' third individual title and, he said, this was even better than the first two.
"I wrestled well, wrestled my style," Lords said.
Lords met Sislo in the semifinals last year and beat him, 8-4. This year, however, Lords wanted to be even better.
"I didn't want to wrestle to win, I wanted to wrestle to dominate," Lords said.
Lords said he knew he was going to be in control of the match.
"It was fun. When I went out I was relaxed and you wrestle the best when you're relaxed and enjoy the sport," Lords said.
Ray said when he came in he did not expect a national title, but it "feels great."
Coming in, Ray figured, they would finished in the top three, but it turned into a great performance.
"I underestimated the team," Ray said.
The Lights have worked hard all year and it was whole team effort, Ray said.
"It's neat like the first time," Ray said. "The third is better than the first two."
NAIA Wrestling Results
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) Team scores and results from Saturday's place matches at the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament being held at Lindenwood University:
Final Team Scores
Montana St.-Northern 137.5, Missouri Valley 118.5, Mary (N.D.) 115, Dickinson St. 97, Findlay, Ohio 95, Cumberland (Ky.) 86, Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 85, Lindenwood 74.5, S. Oregon 68, Wisconsin-Parkside 40.5, Briar Cliff (Iowa) 26, Northwestern (Iowa) 26, Simon Fraser (B.C.) 25.5, Mount St. Clare (Iowa) 21.5, Dana (Neb.) 6, Huron 1, Jamestown (N.D.) 0.5, Cumberland (Tenn.) 0, Dakota Wesleyan 0.
Seventh placeNolan Harris, S. Oregon def. Joey Charles, Wis.-Parkside, by dec., 3-1.
Fifth placeCharles Gonzalez, Missouri Valley def. Chad Henderly, Findlay, by dec., 3-2, OT.
Third placePat Runez, Mary def. Abel Valdez, Montana St.-Northern, by dec., 10-3.
ChampionshipBrant Bruner, Lindenwood def. Andrew Medders, Cumberland (Ky.) by dec, 14-5.
Seventh placePeter Isham, Briar Cliff def. Daniel Anguiano, Cumberland (Ky.), by default.
Fifth placeLukie Christian, Missouri Valley def. Justin Thurman, S. Oregon, by fall, 1:52.
Third placeBrad Russel, Wis.-Parkside def. Beau Vest, Missouri Valley, by dec., 8-1.
ChampionshipJason Fratzke, Montana St.-Northern def. Brian Beil, Mary by dec, 12-6.
Seventh placeJesse Schaeffer, Montana St.-Northern def. Jesse Beckler, Dickinson St., by fall, 1:44.
Fifth placeKen Schmidt, Wis.-Parkside def. Johnny Hurtado, Embry-Riddle, by dec., 11-9.
Third placeKevin Case, Cumberland def. Tim Michel, Lindenwood, by dec., 4-2.
Championship Jeremy Biddle, Missouri Valley def. Marc Bullard, Findlay, by dec., 3-2.
Seventh placeNeal Ewers, Simon Fraser def. Patrick Giangrosso, Missouri Valley, by dec., 10-4.
Fifth placeLyle Cronk, Montana St.-Northern def. Dusty Sanders, Embry-Riddle, by fall, 4:10.
Third placeWayland Lowe, Findlay def. Jerry Reicks, Briar Cliff, by dec., 12-7.
Championship Tim Cobb, Missouri Valley def. Brian Zehren, Mary, by dec., 5-3.
Seventh placeBrian Campbell, Embry-Riddle def. Tamien Labuff, Montana St.-Northern, by dec., 19-9.
Fifth placeJason Labrie, Mary def. Dusty Matson, Dickinson St., by dec., 6-5.
Third placeRyan Alfau, Cumberland (Ky.) def. Brendan Burns, Montana St.-Northern, by dec., 10-8.
ChampionshipDerek Sanders, Embry-Riddle def. Justin Currie, Mary, by dec., 6-4, OT.
Seventh placeJason Walls, Missouri Valley def. Juan Bell, Cumberland (Ky.), by dec., 10-3.
Fifth placeDemetrio Duran, Embry-Riddle def. Chris Hayes, Montana St.-Northern, by dec., 11-6, OT.
Third placeJosh Morton, S. Oregon def. Travis Van Hill, Northwestern, by fall, 2:54.
ChampionshipPete Runez, Embry-Riddle def. Brett Nedens, Dickinson St. by dec., 6-5, OT.
Seventh placeJason Hatchett, Mary def. Cade Taylor, Dickinson St., by dec., 17-8.
Fifth placeMark Lane, Montana St.-Northern def. Matt Deck, Embry-Riddle, by dec., 11-4.
Third placeMatt Cobb, Missouri Valley def. John Venne, Lindenwood, by dec., 10-3.
ChampionshipLars Blomgren, Simon Fraser def. Dinos Angelas, Findlay, by dec., 4-3.
Seventh placeNathan James, Lindenwood def. Spike Reynolds, Briar Cliff, by dec., 6-4.
Fifth placeMatt Tyrrell, Findlay def. Abram Haddon, S. Oregon, by dec., 7-6.
Third placeDan Sturgell, S. Oregon def. Jacob Huebsch, Dickinson pounds
Seventh placeRandy Gust, Mary def. Dave James, Embry-Riddle, by dec., 7-4.
Fifth placeLuke Goral, Wis.-Parkside def. Wes Walker, Missouri Valley, by dec., 3-2.
Third placeDarick Gorder, Dickinson St. def. Mathew Meyer, Dickinson St., by dec., 10-3.
ChampionshipTurk Lords, Montana St.-Northern def. Brian Scislo, Findlay, by dec. 5-0.
Seventh placeDamion Martindale, Montana St.-Northern def. Al Bilins, Missouri Valley, by injury def.
Fifth placeChris Smith, Lindenwood def. Levi Markwardt, Northwestern, by dec., 12-6.
Third placeJason Ackerman, Dickinson St. def. Jim Joaquin, Findlay, by dec., 8-1.
ChampionshipMichael Irving, Cumberland (Ky.) def. Clint Long, Mt. St. Clare, by dec., 4-2.