Wrestling: Wartburg Goes 12-0 In Opening Session Of D-3 National Championships

By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter

Wartburg's Dylan Azinger (left) wrestles Josh Kohler of Augustana in a 174 pound match during the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, March 15, 2013. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Wartburg was simply perfect.

The top-ranked Knights won all 12 matches in the first session of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships on Friday at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Wartburg is attempting to win its third straight national team title, fifth in the last six years and 10th overall. The Knights tallied 21 points, leading University of Wisconsin-Whitewater by six and Elmhurst is third with 10 1/2.

“I was hoping for something like that,” Wartburg co-head coach Jim Miller said, “getting off to a good start and get some momentum going.”

Sam Upah (184) and heavyweight Ryan Fank each had two wins. Fank won his second match by fall, following Puna Soriano’s pin at 197, to cap the round.

“Great way to end it with a pin,” Miller said. ”A couple matches we were behind and came back and won.”

Luther started strong, winning all three pigtail matches.

Kyle Windquist opened with a 46-second pin over York’s Chuck Glatz at 141 and sixth-seeded Evan Obert beat York’s Joey Giaccio, 8-2, at 133, giving the Norse a 2-0 start to the national tournament. Jayden DeVilbiss added a win at 184. Trent Flegel won at 197 and the Norse have five of six wrestlers alive. Luther was in sixth place with seven points. Nick Pearch went 0-2 at heavyweight.

Coe boasts two quarterfinalists. All-American Jimmy Gotto scored an upset, dropping third-seeded Paul Bewak of Johns Hopkins, 2-1. Dimitri Boyer added another, beating John Carroll’s Terner Gott, 2-1. Boyer and Gott exchanged escapes in regulation, but Boyer had more than a minute of riding time for the decisive point. The Kohawks’ Ethan Ball went 0-2.

Both of Cornell’s wrestlers remained alive after the first session. Second-seeded Alex Coolidge survived a tough challenge from Concordia-Moorhead’s Nathan Schmitz, posting a 2-1 win in tiebreaker1. Trevor Engle lost his opening match, but beat John Carroll’s Dan Mirman, 3-1, in the consolation bracket.

Central’s Daniel Page won a pigtail bout at 125. He defeated Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Isaac Balsiger, 8-5, on a late takedown and riding time. He followed it with a bigger win, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 decision over Sean Ambrocio of Concordia (Wis.).

The first upset of the tournament came at 125 pounds where Chris Donaldson of Ursinius beat No. 2 seed Nathan Giorgio of the Coast Guard. Donaldson advanced to the quarterfinals with a fall. Chris Stevermer of St. Johns (Minn.) also toppled a No. 2-seed. He beat Stevens Institute of Technology’s Michael Polizzi, 8-6, in sudden victory overtime at 149.

Andrew Lovins produced the biggest upset of the tournament. He edged top-seeded Jared Myhrberg of SUNY-Cortland, 3-2, at 197. Lovins will face Flegel in Friday night’s quarterfinals with the winner being assured of a top-six finish and all-America honors.

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