AWN Preview: NAIA National Duals

By Jason Bryant
Editor, Amateur Wrestling News

For the second year in a row, some of the best college wrestling action outside of Division I will take place on the mats at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Ill. as the National Wrestling Coaches Association will host the NWCA/Cliff Keen Multi-Divisional National Duals.

The field will consist of teams from Division II, Division III, NAIA, NJCAA and the WCWA in a dual meet advancement format to crown a champion in each of the five divisions.

NAIA Preview
Top-seeded Grand View is looking for a second straight NAIA National Duals championship and it will be hard to stop Nick Mitchell’s Viking squad. Because the NAIA gives teams the ability to wrestle more than one wrestler at a weight class, the Vikings have 12 wrestlers nationally-ranked by the NAIA. Leading the charge is returning champion Eric Thompson, who despite being ranked only third, recently placed at the Midlands. Grand View should have little trouble with Indiana Tech, but individually there should see some decent matchups. Tech’s Justin Brooks was a standout in high school and comes in ranked 10th, as does Grand View’s Alex Peitz. Since the NAIA rankings are done on a point system, it’s also not uncommon for wrestlers to be tied in the rankings, as this example shows. At 157 pounds, Grand View has a pair of ranked options — Quinton Hayes (fifth) and All-American Chad Lowman (sixth). Either one of them will face No. 7 James Bennett. Indiana Tech’s top wrestler is fifth-ranked Travis Barroquillo at 133 pounds.

The Vikings should move on to face either Lindsey Wilson or Dickinson State. Lindsey Wilson has hit the ground running with its program, putting three wrestlers into the NAIA finals last year. The best individual matchup will come at 184 pounds where third-ranked Joseph Stephens of Lindsey Wilson, last year’s runner-up at 174, will take on Jesse Hellinger, who comes in ranked fourth. Lindsey Wilson moves on to take on Grand View in the quarterfinals, but the Vikings should dispatch with Lindsey Wilson and move into the semifinals.

Campbellsville and Montana State-Northern are heavily favored in their opening round matchups and shouldn’t have too much of an issue moving on to face each other in the 4-5 quarterfinal. Campbellsville’s led by top-ranked Conor Young at 157 pounds. Young was fifth at last year’s NAIA national championships. The Lights of MSU-Northern have some heavy star power with four wrestlers ranked in the top five, including top-ranked Ethan Hinebauch at 165 pounds. The quarter should be close, but Northern might have too many bonus points where Campbellsville is not as strong.

Grand View gets past MSU-Northern in the semifinals.

The bottom bracket kicks off with third-seeded Great Falls, last year’s National Duals runners-up, facing off with York College of Nebraska. The Argonauts should have no trouble with the Panthers and should move on to face Oklahoma City, the six seed, who opens up with Midland. OCU has several ranked wrestlers, including Oklahoma State transfer Zach Skates, ranked third, at 165 pounds. Great Falls and OCU should be an entertaining quarterfinal, but we’ll take the Argos to move on.

Morningside and Baker should be one of the more entertaining duals. While Morningside is seeded seventh, Baker has been steadily improving and brings top-ranked heavyweight Brandon Gebhardt to the mat to anchor the upper weights. Morningside is led by top-ranked Brian Block at 184 pounds. Morningside’s depth should be the difference to move on to face second-seeded Southern Oregon, who opens up with Missouri Baptist. Southern Oregon is loaded and should move into the semifinals without issue.

In the semis, Southern Oregon will face Great Falls. The teams met on November 16 with Southern Oregon taking a 23-17 victory. The Raiders move on to face Grand View in the final.

Individually, the NAIA National Duals is loaded with all 10 No. 1-ranked wrestlers in the field. In fact, of the 160 wrestlers ranked in the NAIA, 127 will be on the mats in Springfield — that’s 79.3 percent.

Projected Final & Prediction
No. 1 Grand View vs. No. 2 Southern Oregon
125- Alex Peitz vs. Mitchell Lofstedt (Lofstedt FALL Peitz)
133- Tanner Werner vs. Prescott Garner (Garner MD Werner)
141- Gustavo Martinez vs. Tanner Canaday (Martinez FALL Canady)
149- Jimmy Eggemeyer vs. Isaiah Tatum (Eggemeyer DEC Tatum)
157- Chad Lowman vs. Dalton Urrutia (Lowman DEC Urrutia)
165- Jimmie Schuessler vs. Derek Mestrovich (Schuessler DEC Mestrovich)
174- Thomas Moman vs. Brock Gutches (Gutches MD Moman)
184- Cody Swim vs. Jacob Abrams (Abrams DEC Swim)
197- Derek Nightser vs. Taylor Johnson (Nightser DEC Johnson)
285- Eric Thompson vs. Tanner Marval (Thompson FALL Marval)
Projected Final: Grand View 21, Southern Oregon 20
Biggest Swing Matches: 149, 184

AWN Picks
1. Grand View
2. Southern Oregon
3. Great Falls
4. MSU-Northern
5. Oklahoma City
6. Campbellsville
7. Morningside
8. Lindsey Wilson

NAIA Ranked Wrestlers
125 pounds
1. Mitchell Lofstedt (Southern Oregon)
2. Kory Kistner (Morningside)
3. Bryden Lazaro (Dickinson State)
4. Deteoreious Prayther (Missouri Baptist)
5. Aaron La Farge (Montana State-Northern)
6. Gabriel Roman (Missouri Baptist)
8. Kidd Gomez (Oklahoma City)
9. Luke Schlosser (Great Falls)
10. Alex Peitz (Grand View)
10. Justin Brooks (Indiana Tech)
12. Andrew Tillman (U. of the Cumberlands)
14. Ryan Stearns (Missouri Valley)
15. Oscar Martin (York)

133 pounds
1. Prescott Garner (Southern Oregon)
3. Luis Baltazar (Southern Oregon)
3. Brian Bitney (Missouri Valley)
5. Travis Barroquillo (Indiana Tech)
7. Cameron Neiss (Montana State-Northern)
8. Tyler Alsip (Campbellsville)
9. Chris Padilla (Missouri Baptist)
10. Dennis Welch (Missouri Valley)
11. Jacob McCombs (Lindsey Wilson)
14. Jared Wilmert (Midland)
15. Luke Zeigler (Great Falls)
16. Nathan Ryan (Morningside)

141 pounds
1. Myles Marzurkiewicz (Great Falls)
2. Gustavo Martinez (Grand View)
3. Wismit Moinius (Lindsey Wilson)
4. Kevin Olson (Morningside)
6. Ryan Martin (Great Falls)
7. Josh Lopez (York)
8. Brandon Westerman (Campbellsville)
9. Hunter Azure (Montana State-Northern)
10. Joel Olivas (Baker)
15. Esmond Ford (Missouri Baptist)
16. Garret Lambrecht (Morningside)

149 pounds
1. Jimmy Eggemeyer (Southern Oregon)
2. Isaiah Tatum (Grand View)
3. Anthonie Linares (U. of the Cumberlands)
4. Brad Steele (Dickinson State)
5. Mike Vassar (Great Falls)
6. Jake Ekster (Missouri Valley)
7. Chris Teague (Campbellsville)
8. Nick Haugen (Baker)
9. Cody Green (Midland)
10. Josh Stewart (Oklahoma City)
12. Nicholas Clarke (York)
13. Kyle Terry (Campbellsville)

157 pounds
1. Conor Young (Campbellsville)
2. Ryan Leonard (Great Falls)
3. Mark Meyer (Oklahoma City)
5. Quinten Haynes (Grand View)
6. Chad Lowman (Grand View)
7. James Bennett (Indiana Tech)
9. Javier Arellano (U. of the Cumberlands)
10. Sterling Terry (Midland)
11. Dalton Urrutia (Southern Oregon)
12. Shawn McGhee (Campbellsville)
13. Tyler McMichael (Midland)
14. Nico Martinez (Missouri Valley)

165 pounds
1. Ethan Hinebauch (Montanta State-Northern)
2. Jimmie Schuessler (Grand View)
3. Zach Skates (Oklahoma City)
4. Dallas Houchins (Grand View)
6. Zachary Barkett (U. of the Cumberlands)
9. Shawn Lau (Great Falls)
10. Nathan Sommer (Baker)
11. James Haywood (Lindsey Wilson)
12. Gian Traverso (Missouri Valley)
13. Derek Mestrovich (Southern Oregon)
13. Chad Morehead (Morningside)
15. Cadyn McKeeth (Lindsey Wilson)

174 pounds
1. Brock Gutches (Southern Oregon)
2. Max Payne (Montana State-Northern)
3. Jameel Bryant (Lindsey Wilson)
4. Thomas Moman (Grand View)
6. Parker Owen (Baker)
7. Michael Johnson (Campbellsville)
8. Tanner Martin (Indiana Tech)
9. Cody Swim (Grand View)
11. Teagan Franco (Oklahoma City)
13. Taylor Vaughn (Great Falls)
14. Rulin Pederson (Morningside)
16. Brock Picard (Great Falls)
16. Connor Hovey (Midland)

184 pounds
1. Brian Block (Morningside)
2. Kody Reed (Montana State-Northern)
3. Joseph Stephens (Lindsey Wilson)
4. Jesse Hellinger (Dickinson State)
5. Mitchell Eichenauer (Oklahoma City)
6. Josh Ashbrook (Campbellsville)
8. Weston Keleher (Missouri Baptist)
9. Adam Wolfe (Great Falls)
11. Christian Mays (Grand View)
12. Jacob Adams (Southern Oregon)
13. Jeremy Gardner (U. of the Cumberlands)
14. Cody Silvertsen (Oklahoma City)
16. Tyler Thomas (Southern Oregon)

197 pounds
1. Derek Nightser (Grand View)
2. Allen Scruggs (Campbellsville)
3. Kolton Kersten (Midland)
4. Charles Johnson (Southern Oregon)
5. Josh Manu (Missouri Valley)
6. Mike Brown (Oklahoma City)
7. Fred Byars (U. of the Cumberlands)
8. Toby Cheff (Montana State-Northern)
9. Kevin Keisler (Dickinson State)
10. Jacob Bradford (Lindsey Wilson)
11. Robert Shadrach (Baker)
12. Bradlee Carls (York)
13. Courtney Freeman (U. of the Cumberlands)
15. Dylan Lemery (Great Falls)
16. Andrew Anthofer (Morningside)

285 pounds
1. Brandon Gebhardt (Baker)
2. Jose Lopez (Dickinson State)
3. Eric Thompson (Grand View)
4. Tyler Kacmarynski (Morningside)
5. Sears Tiernan (Great Falls)
6. Daniel Mueller (Missouri Valley)
7. Thoedore Furnish (Lindsey Wilson)
8. Bubba Owens (Southern Oregon)
9. Ray Johnson (York)
10. Gabi Musallam (Missouri Valley)
11. Julius Anglikas (Missouri Baptist)
13. Michael Pezzuto (U. of the Cumberlands)
14. Stanley Lattimore (Oklahoma City)
15. Jonathan Hupp (Lindsey Wilson)