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Wartburg Wins 19th Straight Dick Walker Invite

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WAVERLY, Iowa Wartburg College chalked up its 19th consecutive Dick Walker Invitational championship by more than 100 points in Levick Arena Saturday.

With 190.5 points, Wartburg far outdistanced the field at the 41st annual tournament, which honors the former Knights wrestling coach killed in a 1990 auto accident. The Knights were followed by Briar Cliff, 89.5; Coe, 88.5; Ellsworth Community College, 83.5; Augsburg, 74; Cornell, 39; Dubuque, 34.5; Iowa Central Community College, 32.5; and Iowa Lakes Community College, 20.5.

Knights Coach Eric Keller said the overall meet went "smoothly," and it certainly did for the Wartburg. "Overall it was good," Keller said. "These guys are getting better every week."

The Knights had 19 individuals place in the top five in their weights, including 11 wrestlers reaching the final match. The only weights in which Wartburg didn't compete in the finals were 125 and 133. Six Knights faced a teammate in the finals.

At 165, Wartburg's Cole Welter and Brett Yonkovic battled for the title with Welter winning on a medical forfeit.

The 174 match ended similarly when Wartburg's Landon Williams defeated teammate Nick Fuller who left due to a medical forfeit. Williams was either the champion or co-champion of this tournament during his four years at Wartburg.

The heavyweight battle also pitted two Wartburg wrestlers as Ryan Fank outscored Benjamin Nagle 5-0.

Wartburg had four other champions. Connor Campo defeated Briar Cliff's William Butler, 4-1, at 141. Nicholas Michael took the 157 title with a 5-2 decision over Ellsworth's Zach Muller. At 184, Gerard Roman pinned Matt Hurford of Ellsworth in 6:24. Punahele Soriano won by a major decision at 197 against Coe's Casey Rohret.

Soriano was named the "Outstanding Wrestler" of the tournament.

The Knights head to Las Vegas for the Desert Duals Dec. 21 their last tournament of 2013. Wartburg will start the New Year at the NWCA National Duals in Des Moines.

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