Looking forward to Nationals

Coming up on Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24, the Loras wrestling team is competing in the NCAA Central Regional tournament at the Five Flags Center here in Dubuque. In preparation for the event, let’s take a look at some of our nationally ranked wrestlers’ previous matches and predict how they’ll perform.

First up is junior Brice Everson. Everson, who participates at the 133 weight class, is currently ranked number five nationally. Looking at the meet with Wartburg, Everson was pitted against the currently ranked number three Brock Rathbun. It was a somewhat close match between the two, but Everson was successful, defeating Rathbun through a decision win of 8-3. In the meet before that, Everson triumphed over University of Dubuque’s Richard Diaz, obtaining a win by technical fall with the score 18-0 at time 3:53 of the match. It’s safe to say that Everson is going to compete well during the tournament, since he was able to upset a player ranked higher than he was.

In the 141 weight class, we have junior Clint Lembeck who is also ranked number five. In the Wartburg match, Lembeck won over ranked number six Brady Fritz through a fall at time 5:10 of the match. In the match against Dubuque, a technical fall with the score of 19-2 at 3:18 gave him the win over Nick Meyer. Much like Everson, Lembeck competed very well against his opponents, and should do just as well over the weekend.

Junior wrestler Brice Everson waves to the cheering crowd after defeating his Wartburg opponent Feb. 8.

Up next is junior Brandon Murray, who is ranked number five in the 157 weight class. Murray had a tough matchup in the meet against Warburg. His opponent was none other than Cross Cannone, the number one ranked wrestler in the division. For having to compete against the highest ranked wrestler, he put up a good fight, but was unable to overcome his opponent, losing through a decision of 8-3. Against Dubuque, Murray crushed Andrew Saucedo, getting a win by fall at time 2:02. Murray had a difficult match during the Wartburg meet, but he didn’t lose by very much. As long as he continues to fight, Murray is sure to make his way up to the final rounds of the tournament.

Ranked number eight in the 165 weight class is junior Eddie Smith. Much like Murray, Smith had a difficult match, having to wrestle Wartburg’s higher ranked Mike Ross, who is currently number four in the division. Despite the gap between their rankings, Smith put up an excellent fight, despite having lost to a decision of 4-0. In the meet with Dubuque, Smith’s match against Zarik Anderson was pretty much one sided with Smith winning through a major decision of 14-2. With these two matches in mind, Smith will undoubtedly compete well, having had an incredibly close match with a wrestler four ranks higher than he is.

Last, but certainly not least, is junior Guy Patron Jr., who is currently ranked number two in the 197 weight category. In the Wartburg meet, Patron Jr. faced off against Kobe Woods, who is currently number eight in the rankings. Being the higher ranked wrestler in the match, Patron Jr. asserted his dominance over Woods, soundly defeating him with a major decision win of 10-2. Against Dubuque, Patron Jr. annihilated Terrin Rachouski by winning with a fall at time 1:56 of the match. It’s safe to say that Patron Jr., being ranked number two, is going to be competing just as well as his fellow Duhawks.

After looking back at some previous matches these nationally ranked Duhawk wrestlers had, it’s obvious that Loras College is going to be represented well during the NCAA Central Regional Tournament. The wrestling team will undoubtedly make it far in the tournament, and hopefully they will claim some of the champion titles. Wish the wrestlers luck, and support these fellow Duhawks as they prepare for this large tournament.

“I’m excited to see the guys accomplish their goals,” said Head Coach TJ Miller. “I don’t have any pin point goals for them besides making sure that everyone is ready to wrestle tough for seven minutes. We do that, and we’ll have a great weekend.”

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