Vikings second at NAIA regional

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Senior Seth Theriot (top) was among four Vikings to claim gold medals during the NAIA Central Region Championships.

The Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team took four gold medals and had two other finalists Saturday during the NAIA Central Region Championships in the Burns Athletic Center.

The Vikings, ranked seventh in the latest poll, were second to No. 10 William Penn (Iowa) by a margin of 151 to 134 points.

Valley head coach Mike Machholz pointed out that injuries which held sophomore all-Americans Billy Exline (125 pounds) and Jon Gerhold (133) -- as well as the team's top heavyweight, senior Eddie Hernandez -- played a significant role in the final outcome. Machholz expects to exercise medical exemptions so they can compete at the national meet next month.

There were two weight classes in which the Vikings monopolized the finals. At 184 pounds, senior Jasper Lockett of Ponca City, Okla., defeated senior Daniel Price of Durham, Calif., 5-0, for the title. At 197, it was senior Seth Theriot of Grand Chenier, La., was a 3-0 winner over freshman Wade Empting of Ponca City.

Valley's other champions were sophomore Garrett Harding of Winfield, Kan., at 133 pounds and sophomore Chad Jennings of Post Falls, Idaho, at 157.

Sophomore Chris Jones (165) won two of three rounds to place third. Josh Johnston (174) also wound up third with a 3-1 mark. Johnston defeated sophomore teammate Jake Oberfoell in the medal round, 4-3.

The Vikings took another blow when sophomore Darrell Luebbert (141) hurt his shoulder in the opening match and was out the rest of the meet.

Valley will send 12 grapplers to the NAIA Championships, March 2-3 at Sioux City, Iowa.

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