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Vikings third at NAIA wrestling regional

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DES MOINES -- The 12th-ranked Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team placed third Saturday in the NAIA Central Qualifying Group Tournament at Des Moines.

The Vikings collected 147.5 points to finish behind top-ranked host Grand View (208.5 points) and No. 5 Oklahoma City (148.5), with three past all-Americans reaching the finals.

Senior Paul Hansen, ranked 12th at 125 pounds, won two rounds - one by major decision - before being beaten by No. 4 Kidd Gomez of OCU in the championship bout, 8-5. At 149 pounds, 10th-rated senior Shay Shive won three times to get to the title round, where Grand View's third-ranked T.J. Moen claimed a 12-4 major decision.

Junior James Alter, No. 6 at 197 pounds, pinned his first two foes and dropped a 16-11 decision to the Star's eighth-ranked Mitchell Eisenhauer to place second.

After losing in the semifinal round, No. 6 senior Damon Jackson (165 pounds) skipped past his consolation semifinal match against senior Brandon Perkins -- who wound up in fifth place -- to win the third-place contest, 9-5.

Valley got fourth-place showings from sophomore Brian Bitney (133) and sophomore Gian Travarso (157), while freshman Logan Welch (133) and sophomore Carl Lawrence (285) came in fifth.

"We had several injuries last week, but overall I was happy with the team's performances, given the situation," said MVC head coach Mike Machholz. "Our younger guys are still finding their way.

"This is a rebuilding year for us," he added, "but even so, with seven underclassmen in the lineup, we are still very talented."

The Vikings will return to Des Moines on March 1-3 for the NAIA Championships.

Track & Field

LAMONI, Iowa -- Both the Valley men's and women's track and field teams placed fourth Saturday in the Heart of America Conference Indoor Championships at Lamoni, Iowa, the highest finish for each in several years.

Freshman Billi Pipes won the 200-meter dash (25.89 seconds) -- improving her national-qualifying time -- was second in the 55 (7.39) and fifth in the 400 (1:02.81). She also joined freshman Ausset Culberson and juniors Briana Daniels and Sydney Holloway for second in the 1,600 relay (4:20.78).

Freshman Sarah Niemeier was first in the 800 (2:26.53) and combined with junior Trina Williams and sophomores Amanda Buhr and Tia Rider to place second in the 3,200 relay (10:21.31).

The Lady Vikings also claimed two bronze medals and had seven more entries medaling.

Sophomore Ignacio Franco led the Valley men with a victory in the 800 (2:03.91) and second place in the distance medley (11:06.87) in a quartet with junior Kyland Sims and sophomores Kenneth Kipng'etich and Ben Miller. Franco had qualified for nationals in the event at the Iowa State Relays a week earlier.

Senior Will Coleman won the shot put (6.83 meters) and was second in the weight throw (13.79), sophomore Tyler Davis was second in the long jump (6.83) and junior Jon Leonard placed third in the 55-meter high hurdles (7.98). The Vikings had five other entries in the top six.

Baker claimed both the men's and women's titles, with Central Methodist second.

Valley will send three athletes -- Pipes, Franco and Davis -- to the NAIA Championships, March 1-3 at Geneva, Ohio.

Baseball

The Valley baseball team began its season with three losses and a tie in its first week of action.

The Vikings dropped both ends of a doubleheader Thursday at Sterling (Kan.), the second-ranked KCAC club in the NAIA pre-season poll. The Warriors won the opener, 11-1 in five innings, behind the two-hit pitching of senior Erelio Mesa and a two-run homer from sophomore Ian Josh.

Senior Matt Watson smashed a grand slam Sterling (2-0) scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning of the 11-3 nightcap. Daniel had a pair of doubles, drove in three runs and scored twice. Freshmen Josh Felz and Alex Lator had RBI singles for Valley.

The Vikings fell 8-3 Monday at NCAA Division II Southwest Baptist, a seven-run fourth inning being the difference. The key blows for the Bearcats were two-run singles by seniors Cody Crutcher and Brendon Cox. Lator answered with a two-run homer in the sixth.

The finale was called after 11 innings with the teams tied, 9-9. Freshman Ross Wolfe's triple drove in two runs in the five-run SBU first, but Valley battled back -- evening the score at 6-6 with three runs in the fourth on junior Troy Langan's bases-loaded double.

Langan had three hits and knocked in four runs and freshman Garrett Burke added three RBIs for the Vikings (0-3-1), who open at home Friday and Saturday with four games against Bellevue (Neb.).

Men's Volleyball

The fourth-ranked MVC men's volleyball team suffered a 26-24, 25-15, 26-24, 25-19 MAMVIC West loss Thursday at No. 3 Missouri Baptist.

Junior Gustavo Cintron had 20 kills and sophomore Robert Esser 46 assists to pace the Spartans (11-6, 3-1 MAMVIC).

The Vikings, who had won seven of their previous eight matches, were paced by sophomore Peterson Silva's 15 spikes and 17 digs from senior Stephen Valdez -- named the NAIA "libero of the week" for his performance.

Valley was swept at home Tuesday by No. 2 Park, 25-16, 25-18, 25-19. The Pirates (10-2, 5-0) got 16 kills from senior Fray Luis Fajardo Arteaga.

Freshman Caio De Souza knocked in 12 shots for the Vikings.

Valley (11-4, 2-3) heads to No. 5 Graceland for a league match today.



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