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Top 10 College Wrestling Performances of the Week – March 4th, 2019

hansen, evan

Since no official DI matches were going on we could just shut down the top 10 college performances of the week, right? Absolutely not, as there were two national tournaments taking place the NAIA Championships and the NJCAA National Championships. Additionally, there was the National Collegiate Open which did feature plenty of DI wrestlers, most of whom are redshirts or not competing in conference tournaments for their respective schools. We still managed to find plenty of worthy contenders for our list of the top 10 college performances of the week.

10) Lindsey Wilson

Lindsey Wilson College finished as the runners-up to Grand View at the 2019 NAIA National Championships, which tied a program record for highest placement at the tournament. Two Blue Raider wrestlers Brett Bradford (165 lbs) and Brandon Reed (285 lbs) earned individual national titles. The others, Brady Moser (133 lbs – 6th), Latrell Davis (149 lbs – 7th), and Mark Taijeron (157 lbs – 8th), earned All-American honors for head coach Corey Ruff. Bradford was able to collect his national title once he secured a takedown with five seconds left in the championship bout and then added a riding time point to prevail 6-5. The top-seeded Reed was able to hold off a late charge from Korey Walker (Oklahoma City) to earn a 5-2 win.

9) Brayton Lee (Minnesota)

After Gable Steveson, one of the biggest recruits from the high school class of 2018 for the Gophers was Brayton Lee. With a senior All-American in Tommy Thorn at the 149 lb weight class, Lee has had the luxury of redshirting in his first year in Minneapolis. Lee was able to finish a strong redshirt campaign with a tournament victory at the National Collegiate Open this weekend. In his five matches at the NCO, Brayton tallied 66 points, including a pair of 20 point outbursts in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals. Lee’s earned his title by defeating 2018 NCAA DII national champion Daxton Gordon (Cal Baptist). Earlier this season Gordon knocked off the Gopher’s starter Thorn at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Brayton will finish his season with a 26-7 record and two championships at open tournaments.

8) Josh Wenger (Grand View)

Josh Wenger was the first of two individual champions for Grand View when he took the title at 149 lbs. It was the second of his career, after winning one as a freshman in 2017. This gold came at the expense of his teammate, second-seeded Dylan Reynolds, whom he pinned in the finals in 4:15 from a defensive position. The pin in the finals put the finishing touches on a remarkable tournament for Wenger, who had already taken out the number one and four seeds. Though he was a slight underdog in each of those matches, Josh was able to score major decisions in both bouts. Wenger has finished his junior season with a 30-8 record.

7) Erique Early (Indiana Tech)

Along with Sawyer Miller, Enrique Early was one of two NAIA national champions for Indiana Tech this weekend. Before this tournament, only one other Warrior wrestler had ever won a national title. Early, the two-seed at 133 lbs, survived a first-round scare from Anthony Vargas (Life Pacific) before emerging victorious 5-3 in sudden victory. He then won by fall in the quarters and dropped the third-seeded Gresh Jones (Dickinson State) 10-7 to earn a trip to the national finals for a second consecutive year. For the title, Early needed to get by Shiquan Hall (Grand View) the number one ranked 133 lber in the nation. Erique got a takedown in the first tiebreaker period then held off Hall attacks to win by the score of 4-2 in his final collegiate bout.

6) Lucas Lovvorn (Baker)

An 8-6 sudden victory win over Lucius Van Rensburg (Life) in the 174 lb NAIA national finals gave Lucas Lovvorn his second straight national title and made him the first two-time champion from Baker University. Lovvorn, who finished the season with a 38-0 record, was named the NAIA/NWCA Wrestler of the Year following the event. Lucas’ road to the finals included major decisions in his first two bouts before a pin in the quarters. He then shut down Grand View’s Lawton Benna 4-0 in the semi’s. Lovvorn’s performance helped lead the Wildcats to their first top-ten finish at nationals since the 2016 season.

5) Clackamas CC

On Saturday, Clackamas CC won the NJCAA national championship for the third time in program history and the first time since 2011. Two Cougar wrestlers Elijah Ozuna (141 lbs) and Trajan Hurd (174 lbs) came away with individual titles, while two others made the finals. Nine of the ten Clackamas wrestlers got onto the podium and finished top-eight. Head coach Josh Rhoden was named the national coach of the year and brought home his second title. The Cougars were also able to establish a new high water mark with a team score of 176.5 points. They were able to distance themselves from second-place Northeastern Oklahoma A&M by 24.5 points.

4) Evan Hansen (Grand View)

It was three-for-three for Grand View’s 197 lber Evan Hansen who won his third NAIA national championship in as many years for the Vikings. The top-seeded Hansen used a 6-4 decision to claim his latest title over number two Isaac Bartel (Montana State University-Northern). Evan’s road to the finals included a first-round fall and then two major decision victories. The finals win put a cap on a 19-1 junior season for Hansen. After three years of competition at Grand View, Hansen’s career record now sits at 70-7 for the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 2018 NAIA Championships.

3) Anthony Orozco (Menlo)

Perhaps the most dominating wrestler at the entire NAIA Championships was Menlo’s, Anthony Orozco. Anthony was the only wrestler in the tournament that was able to earn bonus points in all of their matches. A pin and two tech fall earned Orozco a slot in the championship finals against the fourth-seed Joseph Robinson (Lindenwood-Belleville). That big stage did little to slow down Anthony who would win his national championship by the score of 12-2. Even with a first round fall, Orozco was able to tally 51 points in his four matches. For his impressive performance, Anthony was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. This first-place finish is the third time that the junior has earned All-American honors.

2) Grand View

As expected, Grand View University won their eighth consecutive NAIA national championship on Saturday night, however, the dominance was still shocking. The Vikings set a new tournament scoring record after amassing 219 points which were 134 head of runner-up Lindsey Wilson. An eighth title now puts Nick Mitchell’s squad tied with Adams State and Central State for most NAIA titles all-time. Two Grand View wrestlers came away with national titles, Evan Hansen and Josh Wenger. It was the third for Hansen and second for Wenger. All 12 entrants from Grand View finished in the top-six of their respective weight classes and half of them made the finals.

1) Nosomy Pozo (Life)

TOM’s College Wrestler of the Week – March 4th, 2019

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