Two Lady Vikings capture gold medals

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Sixth-ranked junior Frances Elfiong was one of 11 Lady Vikings to medal at the MVC Open, taking fourth place at 143 pounds. (Chris Allen/Democrat-News)

The Missouri Valley College women's wrestling team had three finalists, two of them winning, during Sunday's MVC Open in the Burns Athletic Center.

The meet attracted nine of the top 10 teams in the WCWA rankings and of the 166 entries there were eight who were either rated No. 1 or 2 in their weight classes -- four of whom claimed gold medals. Two of them lost, including King (Tenn.) sophomore Sara Hildebrandt in the 123-pound semifinal to unranked Valley sophomore Jacarra Winchester of San Leandro, Calif., 1-0, 2-1.

That was an impressive victory for Winchester, but in the championship bout she ran into a teammate, with No. 10 junior Brittany Faust of Saxonburg, Pa., notching a 3-0, 0-2, 2-0 decision.

The Lady Vikings also won a title at 136 pounds, where junior Randi Beltz of St. Clair, ranked 10th at 130, steamed into the finals with three straight pins in barely over three combined minutes. She took the title with a 1-0, 1-0 decision over fourth-ranked junior Rachel Shannon of Lindenwood.

Valley had three other grapplers finish in fourth place, with senior Tamara Hartfield reaching the semifinal round before being pinned by King sophomore Lorrie Ramos -- who went on to win the 170-pound crown -- and splitting her two wrestleback matches.

Sixth-ranked junior Frances Elfiong was beaten in the 143-pound quarterfinals, but then reeled off three straight wins, and freshman LaChae Bynum-Banks rebounded from a first-round loss to No. 6 King freshman Malexis McAdoo -- the eventual 191-pound champion -- with three victories in a row.

Senior Jordan Hagerman won a 2-2, 4-1 decision over junior Brittany Jones in the 170-pound fifth-place match between Lady Vikings, senior Danielle Curlis (143 pounds) came in sixth, freshman Dalina Vuong (101) won her seventh-place tilt and freshman Samantha Higa (109) finished eighth.

There's no down time yet for the seventh-ranked Lady Vikings, who head to London, Ont., Saturday for the Harry Gehres Duals.

Men's Wrestling

WARRENSBURG -- Two Valley men picked up medals against largely NCAA Division I and II wrestlers Sunday at the University of Central Missouri Open.

Redshirt freshman Jacob Ekster, ranked 11th in the NAIA at 149 pounds, got into the semifinal round with three wins before dropping an 11-1 major decision to former McKendree (Ill.) all-American Kyle Williams -- who dominated the bracket on his way to the title.

Ekster came back with two wins, including a 6-2 decision in the third-place match against junior Mark Marianovich, a two-time NJCAA all-American prior to joining the Division II Bearcats.

Also getting into a third-place bout was junior heavyweight Dan Mueller, who won his first two contests before being bumped to the back side by McKendree sophomore Ross Janney, 7-5. Three more wins got Mueller a rematch with Janney, who took a 6-3 decision in the trophy round.

The Vikings will be at the Lindenwood Open at St. Charles on Saturday.

Men's Basketball

CRETE, Neb. -- The Valley men's basketball team dropped a pair of games to Great Plains Athletic Conference schools over the weekend during the Doane Tiger Classic at Crete, Neb.

The Vikings dropped their rematch from a week earlier Friday against Hastings (Neb.), 81-61. The Broncos added to their seven-point halftime lead with a 10-2 spurt to begin the second period, and didn't allow Valley to get closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Junior Brady Lollman pumped in 22 points for Hastings (4-0), which had edges of plus-five in turnovers and plus-11 in rebounding.

Senior Michael Connor led the Vikings with 13 points, while freshman Jordan Epps added 12 points and five steals.

Valley was down by 13 points at the break Saturday against the host Tigers, but Epps made a lay-up and drained a three-pointer to close the deficit to 49-41. A 12-3 run boosted Doane's cushion to 17 points and the gap remained in double digits until the final minute of the Vikings' 75-66 loss.

The Tigers (4-0) got 27 points from freshman Connor Beranek, who connected on five of nine shots from beyond the arc.

Epps had 21 points for Valley, which was out-shot from the field, 60.9 to 48.1 percent, and was beaten on the boards, 27-20.

The Vikings (1-3) return home today to face the College of the Ozarks.

Men's Soccer

The MVC men's soccer team will host a first-round match in the NAIA Championship Series.

The 12th-ranked Vikings finished second in the Heart of America Conference regular season standings and reached the HAAC Tournament finals before dropping a 2-0 decision at Benedictine. Their No. 10 ranking in the Modified RPI got them the seventh at-large spot for the playoffs.

Valley (12-6-2) will meet American Midwest Conference Tournament champion Hannibal-LaGrange (14-4) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on Gregg-Mitchell Field, following the second-ranked Viking football team's first round NAIA playoff game against No. 15 Ottawa (Kan.), which starts at 2 p.m.

It's the third straight post-season appearance for the Valley men, who lost at Hastings (Neb.), 3-0, in 2010 and were beaten 2-0 at home last year by the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

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