DES MOINES -- A young Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team performed better than its No. 11 ranking last week in the NAIA Championships at Des Moines.
The Vikings had three entries earn all-America honors Saturday while coming in eighth in the 35-team field with 67.5 points. Top-ranked Grand View (Iowa) won its first title, 172 to 141 points over Southern Oregon, which finished second for the third time in four years.
After losing his first bout, Valley senior Damon Jackson (165 pounds) climbed up the back side with five straight wins -- the last against the opponent who beat him earlier -- before suffering a second hit. He notched a 13-1 major decision over Montana State-Northern's Ethan Hinebauch to claim fifth place.
Senior Shay Shive (149) had a different route to a medal. He was the only Viking to reach the semifinal round, dropping a 6-5 decision to eventual runner up Jimmy Eggemeyer of Southern Oregon. Although Shive lost his next two matches as well, including a 5-3 overtime decision to Baker's Jarell Price, he wound up sixth.
Junior Jesse Alter (197) split his first four bouts, a 12-4 major-decision loss to Kamron Jackson of Great Falls (Mont.) in the quarterfinals ending his title hopes. However, two wins in three wrestleback matches, the last a pin of Julian Silva of Concordia (Neb.), gave him seventh place.
Freshman Brian Bitney (133) won his first two contests, but split his next four and wound up won round shy of a medal match. Sophomore Carl Lawrence (285) came up two wins shy of a medal despite his 3-2 record.
Senior Paulie Hansen (125), a former all-American, posted a 2-2 mark -- along with sophomore Josh Manu (184) and freshmen Logan Welch (133) and Nico Martinez (157). Sophomore Gian Travarso (157) and freshman Dan Mueller (286) each picked up one win for Valley.
Only three of the Vikings' 11 entries were upperclassmen, which bodes well for next season.