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Vikings claim five gold medals in Open

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

(Photo)
Freshman Dylan King (top) pinned two opponents on his way to the 157-pound finals, one of seven Vikings to wrestle for a gold medal during the MVC Open.
(Kelsey Alumbaugh/Democrat-News)
The Missouri Valley College men's wrestling won championships in five of the 10 weight classes Sunday during the MVC Open.

Of the other 11 teams, NCAA Division I member Missouri came closest with three gold medals, while Division II's Fort Hays State (Kan.) and Lindenwood each had one. The Vikings totaled 17 medals, compiling a 9-8 record in those rounds.

Valley sent two grapplers into the 197-pound finals, with fifth-ranked junior Josh Manu taking a 3-2 decision from No. 10 junior Carl Lawrence. Manu had three wins on his way to the medal round, posting a pin and 11-1 major decision. Lawrence pinned two of his three preliminary foes.

The Vikings had a third medalist in the weight class as freshman Will Owens won two of his four bouts -- his first loss being to Lawrence in the semifinals -- on his way to fourth place.

Freshman Ryan Stearns, ranked 14th at 125 pounds, battled his way to a 3-2 overtime decision in the quarterfinals and followed that with a 13-3 major in the semis to reach the first-place match. Again, he was taken beyond regulation, scoring a 6-5 tiebreaker decision at the end of three overtimes against Adam Ludwin of Fort Hays State.

Also at 125, freshman Kevin Bonilla -- after losing to Ludwin in the semifinals -- came back with two wins for third place.

Unranked freshman Todd Brackett (141 pounds) pinned two opponents and dominated another with a 15-0 technical fall to reach the finals, which he won with a 9-7 decision over Lindenwood's Jesse Conoway. Sophomore Willie Essex, after suffering a 6-4 loss to Conoway in the semis, split his next two bouts to finish fourth.

Fifth-ranked Gian Traverso (165) counted a 20-4 tech fall among his three wins on his way to the gold-medal bout, in which he prevailed by a 9-5 tally against top-seeded Christian Loges of Mizzou.

Rounding out the championship list for the Vikings was two-time all-American Charlie Gibbs (285), a 2011 graduate. He pinned three foes in a combined time of a little over six minutes before downing Missouri's Donnell Walker, the No. 1 seed, with a 9-7 victory in the finals.

After dropping a 6-3 decision to Walker in the quarterfinal round, senior James Alter won twice before being nipped 3-2 in the third-place tilt.

The only Valley entry to lose in the title tilt to a non-teammate was 11th-rated freshman Dylan King (157), who sustained a 5-1 loss to the Tigers' Greg Hegarty. King had stopped two of his three previous opponent by fall.

The Vikings had a pair of medalists in two more weight classes. At 133 pounds, No. 10 sophomore Logan Welch won four straight on the back side to finish in third place and freshman Justin Corradino reached the semifinal round before being beaten and wound up sixth.

At 184, 13th-ranked freshman Brett Bader also had three wrestleback wins to reach the third-place match, coming in fourth with a 5-3 loss. Sophomore Taylor Di Trolio made it into the semis before his first loss and finished sixth.

Sophomore Jared Sterling (149) bounced back from a narrow 13-12 quarterfinal loss with four wins in a row, including an 18-6 major decision for third place, and freshman Dakota Concepcion (174) split his first two bouts and came in sixth.

Two of Valley's NAIA-ranked grapplers did not compete in the meet: No. 7 freshman Jake Ekster (149) and sixth-rated junior Dan Mueller (285).

The 10th-ranked Vikings have a two-week break to prepare for the NAIA Midwest Regional Tournament, Feb. 16 at Baldwin City, Kan.



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