The breaks are over and competition will amp up with the second half of the college season and the final six weeks or so for preps. From National Duals storylines to strong prep performances this is the Wrestling Weekend That Was:
Eight is great
Grand View has produced one of the most impressive runs in college wrestling. The Vikings secured their record-setting eighth consecutive National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals title with a 23-12 victory over Life University in the finals Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
Nick Mitchell created a winner, starting the Grand View program from scratch and competing for the first time during the 2008-09 season. The Vikings quickly ascended to the top of the NAIA division under the former eight-year Wartburg assistant and three-time All-American for the Knights.
Interestingly, the title broke a tie with Wartburg for the longest National Duals championship streak. The Knights won seven NCAA Division III championships in a row from 2011-17.
Championships aren’t taken for granted but there are indications this is the expectation more than the aspiration.
“In 2012 I strapped our first-ever National Dual championship trophy in the front seat of my car with a seat belt,” Mitchell posted on Twitter. “8 years later I just texted the managers to see if I left it on the bus.”
All kidding aside, the Vikings' accomplishment is amazing. The program was hatched 10 years ago and already has won 80 percent of the national dual crowns in its division. Grand View has been atop the national rankings for 49 consecutive weeks, has won seven straight NAIA team titles and increased its dual win streak to 71 straight with the last loss coming to Iowa State in 2013.
It isn’t just an NAIA thing.
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Former Viking Brandon Wright has competed for U.S. World and National Team spots. Grand View also has sent wrestlers to the annual Midlands Championships and has earned medals against some of the best from all divisions.
Former Cedar Rapids Prairie prep Josh Wenger has had success with the Vikings. Wenger, a junior at 149 pounds, is a two-time All-American, winning the 141 title in 2017 and placing fifth a year ago.
He is ranked third and wrestled in two of the four duals. He finished 1-1, recording a pin in the 39-12 second-round victory over Missouri Valley.
Cooking an upset
Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island offers one of the top culinary arts programs in the country. The third-ranked Wildcats have garnered some attention in NCAA Division III wrestling recently.
The latest came in an 18-17 victory over second-ranked and second-seeded Wartburg in the semifinals of the NWCA National Duals on Saturday. The Wildcats’ victory ended Wartburg’s string of 16 straight National Duals finals appearances, dating back to 2002 when it became a multidivisional event. Augsburg won its second straight title, beating Johnson & Wales, 20-13, in the finals.
Upper Iowa finished eighth in the NCAA Division II field, while Coe was eighth in D-III.
V-is for Victory
Cedar Rapids Kennedy heavyweight Josh Vis scored an upset over West Des Moines Valley’s Class 3A top-ranked Beau Lombardi in the semifinals of the Jack Mendenhall Invitational Saturday in Ames. Fourth-ranked Vis won, 13-5, to reach the final.
He placed second, dropping a decision to Clarion CGD's 2A No. 1 ranked Spencer Trenary in the final.
HAPPEL OW: Lisbon’s Cael Happel earned Outstanding Wrestling honors Saturday, winning the 53rd Annual Tripoli Invitational.
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Happel wrestled just 3:41 total, recording two pins to take the 132-pound title and improving to 30-0.
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