Besides the ninth-ranked Vikings, four of the top seven teams in the nation competed at Saturday's MVC Invitational. With three gold medals, No. 7 Midland (Neb.) edged second-ranked Grand View (Iowa) for the title, 147 to 132.5 points, with No. 4 Oklahoma City in third place only a point behind the runner up.
Valley had two finalists and five more entries reach the medal rounds for 101.5 points, placing it ahead of fifth-rated Lindsey Wilson (Ky.). However, only three of the Vikings' six top-12 grapplers were entered in the meet.
One of them was No. 7 sophomore Josh Manu (184 pounds), who notched a 5-4 semifinal decision over fifth-ranked Andrew Pontikes of Oklahoma City to get into the championship bout. There, Manu was pinned by No. 9 Kody Kersten of Midland.
Also getting into the finals was senior Damon Jackson (165), who won three preliminary bouts -- getting a pin before a 9-0 major decision in the semifinal round. Jackson battled top-rated Kevin Hardy of the Stars to the end, but lost a 3-0 contest.
Senior all-American Paulie Hansen (125) recovered from a semifinal loss with two wins, including a second-period pin of Midland's Sam Vice for third place.
Although he wound up sixth following a pair of wrestleback losses, the first one a 4-3 decision by Hansen, freshman Derek Bohnsack had an impressive showing during a 3-2 quarterfinal loss to fifth-ranked Clayden McKim of Midland -- who didn't have it so tough in his next two bouts on the way to the title.
Freshman Nico Martinez (157) was pinned with 14 seconds left in his first bout, but rallied with three straight wins -- two by fall -- before being stopped by No. 11 Chad Lowman of Grand View in the third-place contest.
Unranked sophomore Carl Lawrence (285) pulled off an upset with a 7-6 quarterfinal decision over 11th-rated Spencer Bauer of Grand View before being sent to the back side by No. 1 Leviticus Roberson of Midland, who also pinned his next two foes to take first place.
Lawrence hung tough against No. 5 Mike Brown of Oklahoma City in the consolation semifinal round before coming back in the fifth-place match to beat Bauer for the second time with a 10-2 major decision.
Junior all-American Jesse Alter (197) had to settle for sixth place after withdrawing from the consolation semifinal with an injury. The seventh-ranked Alter knocked off No. 9 Mitchell Eichenauer of OCU is the quartefinals, 7-0, before dropping a 4-0 decision to eventual champion Matt Baker of Missouri.
Also getting wins to add to the Vikings' team total were sophomore Brian Bitney (133), freshman Logan Welch (141), junior Jamaal Bufford (174) and freshman Dan Mueller (285).
Valley will be in Des Moines on Tuesday for a dual match against Grand View.