The First Wartburg Women’s Star?
Is the first time the charm? The Wartburg women’s team is hoping so, led by head coach Brady Kyner. In their first year, they are looking at at least one strong All-American contender in Kylie Rule. The true freshman 130 has already won titles at every open she has entered, three in total. Her performance at Doane was her best of the year, though. She outscored tough opposition 63-28, including wins over two different top-six NAIA foes. Her wins in that tournament caused her to jump up to #7 in The Open Mat NCAA rankings. The Wartburg men consistently contend for a D3 title, and the women’s team might be right behind them.
Two more #1’s Go Down
First-semester chaos continues to be in full effect. The NAIA saw the 157 returning national champion Sal Silva of Southeastern go down to Providence’s Aden Graves in a dual meet. Graves enters his second year of college after qualifying for nationals last year, failing to place in the bracket that Silva won. Graves was floating around the bottom half of the top 20 in NAIA, but this win rocketed him up to #10 in The Open Mat’s rankings.
Meanwhile, in D3, the returning 141 national champion Sam Stuhl of Augsburg suffered a loss to Central’s Pierre Baldwin. Baldwin failed to qualify for nationals last year in the notoriously deep lower midwest regional, but he has been on fire this year. Like the aforementioned Rule, Baldwin has won each of the three opens he has entered this year. At the MSOE Invitational, he majored Stuhl 12-4, blasting himself 12 spots up The Open Mat’s rankings to #2.
Brendan Barnes of Minot State recorded the biggest DII upset, taking out a 4x AA Anthony Herrera (2x for St. Cloud & 2x for JUCO Western Wyoming, both powerhouses). Barnes has teammates ranked via The Open Mat in #12 Wayne Joint (133) and #13 Jake Swirple (285), making Minot a diverse team in terms of solid guys through the lineup.
Other big wins include Owen Cline of Mesa taking out the #11. #20 Noble is back on a solid path taking out the #7. New Mexico Highlands got their first ranked wrestler of the season in Rhys Sellers, who is looking like he could certainly make a trip to the big dance at 125. Isham Peace (Lander), Hunter Jump (Central Oklahoma), Jacob Dykes (SW Minn. State), and Ben Gould (CSU-Pueblo), each knocked off top-10 foes in a wild week of D2 action.
Wrestling is a brutal sport and a roller coaster of emotions. One week you are on top of the world and the next you fall. Such is the case for Simon Graeber. A few weeks ago, he notched a huge win over blood-round Braden Carson and helped his team win a huge dual. This past week was the opposite. Corban had the biggest dual upset of the week when they took out Southern Oregon, with previously unranked Blake Runion’s win over former #7 Graeber being a huge piece of that. The Battle of the Rockies and the Doane Open each had some big NAIA results, such as previously unranked Trace Braun of Southeastern taking out two top-15 opponents. In a top-3 battle at 285, K.C. Buday avenged a loss to Gabe Jacobs. Angelo Centrone (Cortland State) knocked out the #2 in D3, while Nick Nettleton (Mount Union) beat #10 in D3.