College wrestling: Loras finishes 2nd at D-III nationals; former Iowa prep wins D-II title
It was a banner weekend for the Loras wrestling program.
Under third-year coach T.J. Miller, the Duhawks finished second at the NCAA Division III national championships at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Virginia. The Duhawks scored 66 points to edge Johnson & Wales (63) and Ithaca (59.5) and finish only behind champion Augsburg (130).
Five Duhawk wrestlers earned All-American honors. Clint Lembeck led the way with a third-place finish at 141 pounds. The junior from Cedar Rapids Xavier is now a two-time All-American.
Guy Patron Jr. placed sixth at 197 pounds, becoming just the third three-time All-American in program history. Brandon Murray and Eddie Smith each finished fourth at 157 and 165, respectively. Jacob Krakow, an Iowa Valley graduate, placed eighth at 174.
Loras led the way for Iowa schools in Roanoke. Wartburg turned in a sixth-place finish with 52 points. Coe finished with two All-Americans — Taylor Mehmen, fifth at 197; Josh Edel, eighth at 184 — and Central had one with Cameron Timok in sixth at 125.
After stumbling on day one, the Wartburg finished with four All-Americans. Cross Cannone, a senior 157-pounder, entered the weekend as a returning national champ on a 61-match winning streak. He reached 63 in a row before falling in the semifinals to Mount Union’s Antwon Pugh, who scored two back points in the final 30 seconds to win, 6-5.
Cannone ultimately took third and capped his Wartburg career as a three-time All-American. He was joined by Kyle Briggs, a former Cedar Rapids Jefferson prep, who took third at 174. Brady Fritz, a South Tama alum, placed sixth at 141. Bowen Wileman took sixth at heavyweight.
A pair of former Iowa prep wrestlers also finished on the podium in Roanoke. Ben Sarasin, a 2018 state champ from Cedar Rapids Kennedy, finished seventh at 174 for the University of Chicago. Bradan Birt, a 2017 state champ from Western Dubuque, was sixth at 157 for Millikin.
Former Glenwood star wins Division II title
A couple of former Iowa high school standout wrestlers made the national finals at the NCAA Division II national championships this weekend at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
Josh Portillo, a three-time state champion at Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, finished second at 125 pounds for Nebraska-Kearney. The sophomore entered the weekend ranked second and outscored his first three opponents by a combined 27-15 to reach the finals. On Saturday night, Portillo lost to Lindenwood’s Carlos Jacquez, 5-3.
At 157, teammate Matt Malcom claimed an individual crown for the Lopers. A state champion for Glenwood in 2016, Malcom entered the weekend ranked No. 1 and wrestled like it, outscoring his four opponents by a combined 50-7 en route to his first national title.
Portillo and Malcom helped Nebraska-Kearney to a fifth-place team finish with 71 points. St. Cloud State won the team crown with 95.5 points. Wheeling Jesuit, McKendree and Notre Dame (Ohio) followed.
Upper Iowa brought four wrestlers to nationals and finished with two All-Americans. Justin Folley, a two-time junior college All-American, took seventh at 133 pounds. Nick Baumler, a former North Fayette Valley prep, placed third at 197 by winning four matches in wrestlebacks after losing in the quarterfinals.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.