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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Two Vikings unbeaten at NAIA meet

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sophomore Brian Bitney (top) won his first two bouts to give the Vikings six team points at the NAIA Championships.
(Chris Allen/Democrat-News)
DES MOINES -- Two returning all-American Missouri Valley College wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinal round Thursday during the first day of the NAIA Championships at Des Moines.

Senior Shay Shive of Gardner, Pa., and junior Jesse Alter of Kirksville won both of their matches, but the other nine Vikings were sent to the back side of their brackets. Eleventh-ranked Valley is seventh in the team standings with 26.5 points, with No. 1 Grand View (Iowa) leading the field with 45 points and nine entries remaining in championship contention.

Ranked third at 149 pounds, Shive won with a 17-2 technical fall and 8-0 major decision. Alter, No. 5 at 197 pounds, received a first-round bye and pinned his first opponent.

Sophomore Brian Bitney (133 pounds) won his first two bouts before being sent to the wrestleback with a 9-4 loss to top-ranked Tim Thurston of Campbellsville (Ky.).

Getting first-round victories for the Vikings were senior all-American Paulie Hansen (125), freshman Nico Martinez (157), sophomore Gian Travarso (157), sixth-ranked senior Damon Jackson (165) and freshman heavyweight Dan Mueller.

After losing their first matches, three Valley grapplers bounced back with victories in the consolation bracket: freshman Logan Welch (133) and sophomores Josh Manu (184) and Carl Lawrence (285).

All of the Vikings remain alive for medals heading into the second day of competition in the meet, which ends Saturday.

Women's Basketball

OLATHE, Kan. -- MidAmerica Nazarene gradually built a 12-point halftime lead and pulled away after the break Thursday for a 63-42 home victory over the Missouri Valley College women's basketball team in the first round of the Heart of America Conference Tournament.

After taking the lead three minutes into the contest, the league's regular season champion never relinquished it. The Lady Vikings stayed close until late in the first half, trailing by three points after junior Lindsi Jackson's free throw with 8:50 remaining.

The 22nd-ranked Lady Pioneers then reeled off 10 straight points, a put-back and lay-up by senior Kristie Tiegreen touching off the run.

MidAmerica was only able to add two points to its cushion through the first five minutes of the second period, until three-pointers from sophomores Jamie Garza and C.J. Wesemann keyed a 12-4 spurt which increased the margin to 22 points less than three minutes later.

The closest Valley could get after that was 18 points.

Wesemann led all scorers with 10 points and Garza contributed seven points, seven assists and four steals for the Lady Pioneers (23-8). They will host Benedictine, a 63-54 winner over Evangel, in Saturday's semifinal round.

The Lady Vikings' bench accounted for 24 of the team's 42 points. Senior Chelsea Quiring had eight points for Valley (10-19), which shot 31.9 percent -- including one of 12 from three-point range -- while finishing the season with its seventh straight loss.

Women's Wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Missouri Valley College wrestler Randi Beltz captured a gold medal Sunday during the Pan American Championships at Colorado Springs.

The junior from St. Clair won her first two matches in the 59-kilogram weight class with a 3-4, 2-0, 5-3 decision over Colombia's Juliana Alzate and a 23-second pin of Lais Nunes of Brazil. Beltz lost the finals by a 3-0, 2-0 count to defending champion Amanda Gerhart of Canada, who placed fifth last year in the World Championships.

It was Beltz' second appearance in the Pan Am Games, having won the 63k class in 2009. She tallied six points for Team USA, which came in second to Mexico by a margin of 41 to 30 points.

Former Lady Viking grappler Stephany Lee was the 72-kilogram champion.

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