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National Runner-Ups Wabash College

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Little Giants Claim Runner-Up Honors at NWCA Duals

Story Links The Wabash wrestling team captured its best finish in school history at the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals, placing second overall.


The Little Giants earned a spots in the championship match after scoring a 25-12 win over Concordia-Moorhead before facing five-time Duals champion Wartburg in the finals. The top-ranked Warhawks claimed their sixth straight title with a 28-12 result.


"I can't say enough about how the guys competed today," Wabash head coach Brian Anderson said. "They believed in themselves this weekend and fought hard. This was a great performance for them as a team. A National Duals runner-up finish is something the program can feel good about and build from the rest of the season. I'm very proud of everyone."


Wabash faced a Concordia-Moorhead team that had posted wins in head-to-head meetings at the Duals over the Little Giants each of the past two seasons. Wabash trailed 6-0 after two matches before winning the next seven bouts to end the Cobbers' winning streak. Michael Venezia triggered the consecutive wins by scoring a 6-3 decision at 141 pounds. Tim Locksmith, absent from the Wabash lineup the past two years due to injuries, continued his impressive return to action by taking a 3-2 victory at 149 pounds.


"I felt great being able to help the team out on the mat rather than driving the van," Locksmith said. "As important as the 'behind-the-scenes' stuff is to the team, it's so much more satisfying being able to directly contribute to the wrestling team's success."


Nick Bova scored a 3-1 overtime win at 157 pounds to put Wabash in front 9-6, providing the first lead in the match. Connor Brummett made certain the Little Giants did not relinquish the advantage, winning 4-1 in his 165-pound bout. Ethan Farmerpicked up four points with a major decision at 174 pounds before Riley Lefever added another pin to his season totals, flattening his opponent at the 3:45 mark of their 184-pound contest to lock up the win for the Little Giants. Brett Thummpicked up the final victory with a 4-2 decision at 197 pounds.


"(Scoring the match-clinching pin) wasn't nearly as exciting as the energy I felt from our team, which kept building after each match and gave me the confidence to do what I did this weekend," Lefever said. It was such a great opportunity and capitalizing on it was something I could not have done without my teammates, our coaches, and our fans."


Wabash scored three wins in the final match versus Wartburg, none bigger than the victory by sophomore and  133-pound 2015 national qualifier Devin Broukal. The second-year competitor faced last year's national champion at 149 pounds, Kenneth Martin. Broukal, filling in for Locksmith in the heavier weight class in the finals, scored a hard-fought 5-4 win to score the first team points for the Little Giants.


"I didn't want my first chance to wrestle in the National Duals to end in a loss," Broukal said. "I had nothing to lose having bumped up a weight. I wanted to leave it all out there. After the match it was pretty exciting to see the team and fans cheering. Knocking off the returning national champ was definitely a confidence boost for me. I know there's no one I can't beat this year if I stay focused."


Lefever picked up a forfeit at 184 pounds prior to a 6-3 win by Thumm at 197 pounds for the Little Giants at 197 pounds.


The runner-up finish by Wabash followed a fourth-place finish last year at Duals.

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