By Connor Halbmaier
DECORAH, IA. & DES MOINES, IA. – To compete in both the Luther Open and the Grand View Open, the Duhawks split their flock and went to Decorah and Des Moines, Iowa, respectively. It was a busy Saturday for the team, but they were able to walk away with three golds, a silver and a bronze.
The Luther Open saw the crowning of first-year Shane Liegel in the Silver 184 bracket. In the first round, Liegel was given a bye, allowing him to move on to the second round, where Isaac Gust from Wisconsin-La Crosse stood in his way. One decision win later, Liegel stepped into the semifinals to face off with Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Sam Melton. Melton couldn’t stop the Duhawk’s streak as he won through another decision, 6-0, and moved into the finals. In this championship match, Leigel’s opponent was Chase Melton, also from Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Liegel asserted his strength as a Duhawk wrestler, claiming victory through a major decision, 13-0, which gave him the gold medal.
Along with Liegel, first-year Dakoda Powell claimed a bronze medal in his Silver 285 bracket.
“[First-years] Shane Leigel and Dakoda Powell both performed well,” replied Head Coach TJ Miller when asked about Luther’s Open Duhawk medal placers.
The Grand View Open, on the other hand, saw two Duhawks given gold medals. The first was senior Brandon Murray in the 157 pound bracket. A bye in the first round propelled him into his next round, where his opponent was Luther’s Stephens. Murray made short work of Stephens as he won through a fall at 0:40. In the quarter finals, Devin Bahr from Wisconsin was the Duhawk’s next challenge. It was a tougher fight this time, but Murray proved his skill with a decision win, 8-5. Grand View’s Renaldo Rodriguez-Spenc stood against Murray in the semifinals. Murray’s opponent was no match for him as he pushed past into the finals round, where his final match was against Drew Scharenbrock from Wisconsin. At 5:31 of the match, Murray was crowned champion of his bracket with a fall.
The other champion named from the Grand View Open was junior Travis Willers. In the 165 pound bracket, Willers was given two byes, allowing him to start his tournament in the quarterfinals. His first round pitted him against Grand View’s Xavier Miller. This matchup was relatively easy for the Duhawk, who won the round with a fall at 1:43. After Miller came Iowa State’s Isaac Judge in the semifinals. Isaac provided more of a challenge for Willers, but the Duhawk was able to persevere with a win by decision 3-2. With two wins under his belt, and one more round ahead of him, Willers final opponent for the day was Zane Mulder from Iowa State. Willers and Mulder butted heads as they fought to prevail over one another, and in the end, Willers came out on top with a decision 9-8, granting him first place.
One other Duhawk claimed a medal for the Loras team at this tournament: junior Jacob Krakow, representing the team in the 174 weight bracket, was given the silver medal after some hard fought battles.
“We have never competed in the Grand View Open, so it was nice to do something different,” said Coach Miller. “The Grand View Open was one of the toughest tournaments we have wrestled in my time here.”
Next on the wrestling schedule is the meet against Concordia University. They’ll be traveling down to Mequon, Wisconsin, for the match on Saturday, Nov. 23.