WAVERLY, Iowa (KCRG) - Division III wrestlers were hoping to come away as national champions this weekend with the tournament being held at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. Instead, some wrestlers will have to wait until next year, while others may never get another opportunity after the NCAA cancelled all the winter tournaments on Thursday due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus.
"I know how hard it is for me, I can't imagine how hard it is for these guys," said Wartburg head coach Eric Keller. "For me, I'm trying to be there and support them."
Wartburg had five wrestlers qualify for the national tournament, including former Jefferson prep Kyle Briggs, who entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed at 174 pounds.
"It's tough for me personally because of all the years I've competed, this has been the best year preparation wise," Briggs said. "For me to not be able to take advantage of the national tournament and show everyone what I'm capable of, it's disappointing."
It's certainly heartbreaking for many wrestlers that they didn't get a chance to wrestle for a national championship. Now, they're already focused on next year.
"There's a valuable lesson that I think hopefully these guys will grab onto," said Keller.