With duals complete, Duhawks look to train for NCAA Regional
by Sean Whitley
Since last semester the Duhawks have been on a role, tearing people up and down the mat, coming into their last dual against Wartburg for the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) Championship.
The Wartburg Knights haven’t lost on a conference dual in 25 years. The Duhawks being ranked No. 2 in the conference came out hoping to put the Knights on their heels and give them their first conference loss in 25 years.
Starting the dual with very close matches by making them go to decision, the Knights hoped to break away with the win. The Duhawks kept clawing at the Knights and leaving all the matches very close. They were not able to pull out the win against the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
The Knights and the Duhawks kept the night interesting even though the final score did not show it. The Knights ended up defeating the Duhawks 32-0.
Noticeable matches throughout the night that made the Knights really work hard for a win included that of freshman Guy Patron Jr. and senior Evan Weaver. Weaver at the 149 pound weight class wrestled back in the third period to almost beat the top ranked Kenny Martin.
Weaver scored six points in the third period in his almost comeback win. Patron had an exciting match, losing 6-1 after the first period, battling back and almost winning the Duhawks only match of the night. Patron lost 9-6 but with some controversy ruling by the ref.
The Duhawks then went on to a Last Chance Invite on Saturday in Pella, Iowa at Central College. The Duhawks showed some dominance in the tournament.
Sophomore Gabriel Pleasants had an unbelievable day winning the 165 pound weight class. Pleasants first beat Nebraska Wesleyan’s Nathan Hunt 5-4 and then trumping his teammate Keegan Gilligan 14-9. Pleasants biggest win on Saturday was in the championship match against Austin Scotts from Simpson College with a pin in the second period.
The Duhawks also had sophomore Sam Schuler who gave a good look at the tournament. Schuler ended up taking third place on Saturday. Schuler started strong with defeating John Polk from Central College with a 16-0 tech fall. Schuler then lost 9-5 to Devein Roettger from Cornell. Schuler kept his head high and looked for revenge in the next two matches, first defeating his own teammate Sam Elston and then defeating Lane Rumelhart 8-4 to win the third place match.
Sophomore Javier Soto made himself known on Saturday in the 195 pound weight class. Soto made an opening statement with a win over Dubuque’s Raven Rodriguez, 11-4 decision. Soto then moved on to pin Corbin Folsom from Central College in the first period. With hopes high and ready to take on Central’s Duncan Lee in the title match, Soto came in and fell short of the win. Folsom won 3-1 and stopped Soto from getting a takedown for the win and becoming the 195 pound champion.
The Duhawks have now finished the duals for the season and have their hopes high for NCAA Division II Central Regional tournament on February 25. The Duhawks are preparing and hoping the send some wrestlers to the championships in La Crosse, Wisconsin.