The Upper Iowa wrestling team is where Coach Heath Grimm anticipated at this point of the season.
It won't matter unless he can say the same at the end of it.
The Peacocks, ranked fourth in NCAA Division II, crowned four champions and earned a runner-up team finish for the third straight year at the Midwest Classic Invitational last weekend at University of Indianapolis. Upper Iowa has placed in the top-10 at the national tournament the last four years and five in the last eight, placing sixth last year and a program-best third in 2010.
Upper Iowa finished a distant second to Newberry, ranked as high as No. 1 in various polls.
"We're kind of right on course where we thought we'd be," Grimm said. "We're not training for a Midwest Classic title. We're training for the national title in March. We saw the Midwest Classic as an opportunity to train."
Senior Bryce Lumzy posted a 5-0 mark with three pins to claim the 157-pound title. Lumzy decked Newberry's second-ranked Taylor Knapp in 4:39 before beating Campbellsville's Conor Young, 6-3.
The performance garnered Northern Sun Wrestler of the Week honors for the second time this season. He improved to 17-3 with 11 falls, leading the Peacocks, who leads all divisions in pins.
Lumzy, a former JUCO All-American who dropped to 157 from 165 this season, earned praise from Grimm, who said he did a "great job" last weekend.
"This is his last go-round," said Grimm, noting Lumzy is adjusting to weight. "He likes to compete hard and expects to accomplish some big things. It's all starting to come together."
Carl Broghammer produced the second Peacock crown. Third-ranked Broghammer, a former West Delaware state champion, won a bracket that included the top-two ranked wrestlers at his weight. The 2011 All-American topped Maryville's No. 2-ranked Matt Baker, 5-4, avenging a loss to Baker in last year's NCAA regional tournament.
Broghammer had two pins and two major decisions.
"That was nice," Grimm said. "It was a good day for him."
Wade Gobin (165) placed second, Jordan Rinken (149) was fourth and 133-pounder Trevor Franklin, Matt Paulus at 141 and Blake Sorensen (174) each finished eighth. Franklin just returned to the Peacocks in time to certify weight, and 184-pounder Mitch Schultz had to drop form the tournament due to a concussion, so Upper Iowa isn't at full strength.
"We have confidence they're going to be where they need to be, contending for national titles in another couple months," Grimm said."We have three weights - 125, 141 and heavyweight - still asserting themselves. We have a big tournament down in Florida where we're taking multiple guys at each of those weights so we'll see how that shakes out."
It will be an attempt to solidify the lineup for the run at the end of the season. Grimm said a national team title is within reach of a lot of teams. The Peacocks (1-0) want it in their hands.
" This year the D-II's are wide open," said Grimm, mentioning a team ranked 20th had two top-ranked individuals. "The parity is from top to bottom. There are 10 to 15 teams are pretty darn dangerous. We have the pieces in place. As long as we continue to make progressions all the way through February, and stay as healthy as we can, and keep the focus we will be one of those teams."
Luther's Obert honored
Luther sophomore Evan Obert was named Iowa Conference Male Athlete of the Week on Monday.
Obert, from Genoa, Wis., went 3-0 at the Gator Duals in New Orleans, La., during the week ending Dec. 16. The Norse 133-pounder improved to 12-2 this season.
Obert's week was highlighted by an impressive 6-2 win over Elmhurst's second-ranked Dalton Bullard. He added decisions over Concordia-Moorhead's Yonas Gebreab and Nicholas Authay, of Central Florida's club team.
Luther is ranked 16th in the latest Brute National Wrestling Coaches Association NCAA Division III poll. The Norse's next scheduled date is the 50th Annual Midlands Championships at Evanston, Ill., hosted by Northwestern University. Luther competes at the Knox Duals at Galesburg, Ill., on Jan. 5.
Boyer, Ball perfect at Desert Duals
Dmitri Boyer and Ethan Ball posted 4-0 records, helping Coe to a 2-2 mark at the Desert Duals on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nev.
Boyer, a junior, earned a fall and a major decision at 157 pounds, improving to 12-3. Fifth-ranked Ball (19-1) also had a major decision at the event hosted by Wartburg.
The fourth-ranked Kohawks (6-2) beat Rhode Island, 42-3, and Waldorf, 40-3. Coe lost to No. 10 Olivet, 25-13, and NAIA's Baker (Mo.) University, 27-15.
Eighth-ranked 165-pound freshman McThomas Sewera, No. 9 Donnie Horner (197) and heavyweight Alex Burkle each went 3-1. Sewera tallied three pins. Horner upset No. 6-rated Logan Renas, of Olivet, 5-3. Burkle, ranked fourth, won twice by fall.
Coe's next competition will be the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals at Springfield, Ill., on Jan. 12-13.