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Found 4 results

  1. By STEVE KRAH stvkrh905@gmail.com Riley Lefever could win wrestling matches 1-0 or 2-0. But what’s the fun it that? On his way to a fourth national championship, the Wabash College senior was named NCAA Division III’s most dominant wrestler by averaging 5.79 points per match during the 2016-17. To punctuate his fourth crown, he scored a pin in the 197-pound finals to help the Little Giants place third in the team standings. Lefever left the meet in LaCrosse, Wis., with the National Wrestling Coaches Association Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Meet Award. “I like to push the pace,” Riley said. “Once you wear them down, it’s going to be easier to get to the legs. “That’s the way I approach wrestling, wear them down, push the pace and score a lot of points.” Riley often finishes in a decisive way. “He’s got a lot of horsepower,” Wabash head coach Brian Anderson said. “He’s big with cradles, bundling them up.” Lefever, who was an IHSAA state runner-up at 170 for Carroll High School (Fort Wayne) as a senior in 2013, became the first national championship in Wabash history as a freshman (Chris Healey placed second for the Little Giants in 2005) and went on to go 129-0 against D-III competition during his collegiate career while joining Augsburg's Marcus LeVesseur (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007) as the division’s only four-time champions. Overall, Riley was 158-6 (38-0 as a freshman, 37-3 as a sophomore, 44-0 as a junior, 39-3 as a senior). “His aggressive style and his approach to never stop scoring, it is exhausting to his opponents,” Anderson said. “He is a great example of wrestler who likes breaking people on the mat.” In putting away Ithaca College senior Carlos Toribio in 4:52, Lefever took his foe from his feet to his back — something he’s done countless times in drills and matches. After taking each of his first three titles — all at 184 — Lefever trained with a purpose during the summer and came back better for the intercollegiate season. Competing against grapplers in higher divisions, Riley won the Iowa State University/Harold Nichols Open and placed second at the Eastern Michigan University Open at the beginning of his senior season. For his last college go-round, Riley was bigger and was even tougher on his feet. “I talked to Coach Anderson and wanted to do what is best for the team,” Riley said. “I knew I got a little bigger. I saw it as just another challenge, facing bigger guys and wearing them down. “I want to move guys around, snap them to the mat and score.” As it had been at 184, getting those big guys off their feet was the focus. “Takedowns, that’s where most matches are won,” Riley said. So, he worked on singles, doubles, ankle picks and more. His lunch break was often coupled with watching video of the sport’s finest and how they execute moves. “The best wrestlers are moving all the time and finding those angles,” Riley said. “It’s fun wrestling to watch.” As a Little Giants assistant, Reece Lefever got to watch Riley make history from the corner of the mat. “It was pretty awesome,” Reece said. “Riley likes to have fun and get after it. Winning 1-point matches isn’t as fun as scoring a ton of points. That’s what the fans like to see, too. He put on a show for people.” Kent and Nancy Lefever’s sons earned eight All-American honors on the mat for Wabash — four for for Riley, three for Reece and one for Conner (twin to Reece). In 2015, all three brothers were in the D-III national finals with Riley (184) and Conner (174) winning and Reece (157) placing second. Reece was the first Little Giant to achieve All-American status three straight seasons. Conner, a volunteer assistant at Wabash, says it’s his little brother’s drive that takes him to the top of the podium. “He wants to get better,’ Conner said. “He’s not satisfied with just winning. He wants to dominate.” Reece and Conner sparred with Riley a couple times a week during his tournament run. A few years ago, there was a chance of taking little brother down once in awhile, “I could hang with him,” Conner said. “Since he went up and weight class and gotten so much better, it’s tough to keep up with him.” Conner has watched Riley consistently put it on opponents. “Riley likes to lift the guys and slam them down hard,” Conner said. “As a fan, it’s fun to watch the guys who can take anybody down at will. “He breaks them down mentally.” Anderson has watched the twins show the younger brother the way and seen him take the program to new heights. “(Conner and Reece) are perfect examples of how you need to live your life, stay on the tracks with your training and always do one more thing in pursuit of a national title,” Anderson said. “Conner attained it and Reece just missed it. “The whole Lefever family and guys on those teams, these are the groups that took it up a notch and believe they were good enough to challenge for national trophies.” The bar has been set higher in Crawfordsville and Conner knows where the credit lies. “Riley changed the whole atmosphere of Wabash wrestling,” Conner said. “Nobody believed anyone could win a championship. “That’s how we’ve been able to make that big improvement.” And to think his mat career almost ended before it really got started. “I played soccer and planned on playing soccer instead of wrestling, but I was practically dragged to practice by my brothers, teammates,” Riley said. “My parents made me go.” Riley, who placed sixth at the Carroll Sectional as a 125-pound freshman with an 11-18 record, counts his brothers as his biggest influence. “I get to train with them everyday,” Riley said. “They were studs when I was growing up. They pushed each other. “I still work on technique with them and they are the main reason I came to Wabash.” Riley wrestled with Conner and Reece for three years at Carroll. “Those are memories I’ll never forget,” Riley said. The brothers are also products of the Roadrunner Wrestling Club. Besides the Lefevers, college All-Americans from that Garrett-based organization are Travis Barroquillo (three times) and Matt Hurtford (twice). After thriving in the competitive atmosphere at Wabash, Riley intends to continue his mat career and Anderson will still be there to guide him. “My ultimate approach is that I will feed them as fast as they want to eat,” Anderson said. “You have different levels of committed athletes in your program. Riley is one of the most elite. He is hungry for opportunities. I’ve made sure he’s being challenged as much a humanly possible. That that will continue. I will work to help him.” Anderson sees a possible World University Games or U.S. Open appearance for Riley this summer and he could wind up at a Regional Training Center or the U.S. Olympic Training Center. “He definitely has the ability and the build where he can do it,” Reece said. “He can get pushed by guys his size and at his level.” In May, Academic All-American Riley is scheduled to graduate from Wabash as an English major and History minor. He is scheduled to marry longtime girlfriend Madison in August. When he hangs up his shoes, Riley said he plans to be a wrestling coach.
  2. By STEVE KRAH stvkrh905@gmail.com Riley Lefever could win wrestling matches 1-0 or 2-0. But what’s the fun it that? On his way to a fourth national championship, the Wabash College senior was named NCAA Division III’s most dominant wrestler by averaging 5.79 points per match during the 2016-17. To punctuate his fourth crown, he scored a pin in the 197-pound finals to help the Little Giants place third in the team standings. Lefever left the meet in LaCrosse, Wis., with the National Wrestling Coaches Association Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Meet Award. “I like to push the pace,” Riley said. “Once you wear them down, it’s going to be easier to get to the legs. “That’s the way I approach wrestling, wear them down, push the pace and score a lot of points.” Riley often finishes in a decisive way. “He’s got a lot of horsepower,” Wabash head coach Brian Anderson said. “He’s big with cradles, bundling them up.” Lefever, who was an IHSAA state runner-up at 170 for Carroll High School (Fort Wayne) as a senior in 2013, became the first national championship in Wabash history as a freshman (Chris Healey placed second for the Little Giants in 2005) and went on to go 129-0 against D-III competition during his collegiate career while joining Augsburg's Marcus LeVesseur (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007) as the division’s only four-time champions. Overall, Riley was 158-6 (38-0 as a freshman, 37-3 as a sophomore, 44-0 as a junior, 39-3 as a senior). “His aggressive style and his approach to never stop scoring, it is exhausting to his opponents,” Anderson said. “He is a great example of wrestler who likes breaking people on the mat.” In putting away Ithaca College senior Carlos Toribio in 4:52, Lefever took his foe from his feet to his back — something he’s done countless times in drills and matches. After taking each of his first three titles — all at 184 — Lefever trained with a purpose during the summer and came back better for the intercollegiate season. Competing against grapplers in higher divisions, Riley won the Iowa State University/Harold Nichols Open and placed second at the Eastern Michigan University Open at the beginning of his senior season. For his last college go-round, Riley was bigger and was even tougher on his feet. “I talked to Coach Anderson and wanted to do what is best for the team,” Riley said. “I knew I got a little bigger. I saw it as just another challenge, facing bigger guys and wearing them down. “I want to move guys around, snap them to the mat and score.” As it had been at 184, getting those big guys off their feet was the focus. “Takedowns, that’s where most matches are won,” Riley said. So, he worked on singles, doubles, ankle picks and more. His lunch break was often coupled with watching video of the sport’s finest and how they execute moves. “The best wrestlers are moving all the time and finding those angles,” Riley said. “It’s fun wrestling to watch.” As a Little Giants assistant, Reece Lefever got to watch Riley make history from the corner of the mat. “It was pretty awesome,” Reece said. “Riley likes to have fun and get after it. Winning 1-point matches isn’t as fun as scoring a ton of points. That’s what the fans like to see, too. He put on a show for people.” Kent and Nancy Lefever’s sons earned eight All-American honors on the mat for Wabash — four for for Riley, three for Reece and one for Conner (twin to Reece). In 2015, all three brothers were in the D-III national finals with Riley (184) and Conner (174) winning and Reece (157) placing second. Reece was the first Little Giant to achieve All-American status three straight seasons. Conner, a volunteer assistant at Wabash, says it’s his little brother’s drive that takes him to the top of the podium. “He wants to get better,’ Conner said. “He’s not satisfied with just winning. He wants to dominate.” Reece and Conner sparred with Riley a couple times a week during his tournament run. A few years ago, there was a chance of taking little brother down once in awhile, “I could hang with him,” Conner said. “Since he went up and weight class and gotten so much better, it’s tough to keep up with him.” Conner has watched Riley consistently put it on opponents. “Riley likes to lift the guys and slam them down hard,” Conner said. “As a fan, it’s fun to watch the guys who can take anybody down at will. “He breaks them down mentally.” Anderson has watched the twins show the younger brother the way and seen him take the program to new heights. “(Conner and Reece) are perfect examples of how you need to live your life, stay on the tracks with your training and always do one more thing in pursuit of a national title,” Anderson said. “Conner attained it and Reece just missed it. “The whole Lefever family and guys on those teams, these are the groups that took it up a notch and believe they were good enough to challenge for national trophies.” The bar has been set higher in Crawfordsville and Conner knows where the credit lies. “Riley changed the whole atmosphere of Wabash wrestling,” Conner said. “Nobody believed anyone could win a championship. “That’s how we’ve been able to make that big improvement.” And to think his mat career almost ended before it really got started. “I played soccer and planned on playing soccer instead of wrestling, but I was practically dragged to practice by my brothers, teammates,” Riley said. “My parents made me go.” Riley, who placed sixth at the Carroll Sectional as a 125-pound freshman with an 11-18 record, counts his brothers as his biggest influence. “I get to train with them everyday,” Riley said. “They were studs when I was growing up. They pushed each other. “I still work on technique with them and they are the main reason I came to Wabash.” Riley wrestled with Conner and Reece for three years at Carroll. “Those are memories I’ll never forget,” Riley said. The brothers are also products of the Roadrunner Wrestling Club. Besides the Lefevers, college All-Americans from that Garrett-based organization are Travis Barroquillo (three times) and Matt Hurtford (twice). After thriving in the competitive atmosphere at Wabash, Riley intends to continue his mat career and Anderson will still be there to guide him. “My ultimate approach is that I will feed them as fast as they want to eat,” Anderson said. “You have different levels of committed athletes in your program. Riley is one of the most elite. He is hungry for opportunities. I’ve made sure he’s being challenged as much a humanly possible. That that will continue. I will work to help him.” Anderson sees a possible World University Games or U.S. Open appearance for Riley this summer and he could wind up at a Regional Training Center or the U.S. Olympic Training Center. “He definitely has the ability and the build where he can do it,” Reece said. “He can get pushed by guys his size and at his level.” In May, Academic All-American Riley is scheduled to graduate from Wabash as an English major and History minor. He is scheduled to marry longtime girlfriend Madison in August. When he hangs up his shoes, Riley said he plans to be a wrestling coach. Click here to view the article
  3. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES jerhines@cinergymetro.net To say Wabash College’s wrestling program is like a family might be an understatement. Wabash has five wrestlers who have qualified for this weekend’s Division III Nationals, three of which are brothers. The Little Giant’s are hoping those brothers can catapult the team to their best ever finish in the National Championship. “Last year we finished ninth as a team, which was our best finish ever,” Wabash assistant coach Danny Irwin said. “Without a doubt we feel like we should do much better this year, just based on our seeds. All five guys are capable of getting on top of the podium.” Wabash is led by the Lefever brothers, who wrestled for Fort Wayne Carroll in high school. Twins Reece and Conner are seniors. Reece is the No. 2 seed at 157 pounds. Conner is the top seed at 174 pounds and younger brother Riley, a sophomore, is a returning champion who is the No. 1 seed at 184 pounds. Wabash freshman Devin Broukal and junior Ethan Farmer, both from Bloomington South High School, have also qualified for Nationals, but are unseeded. Riley won Nationals last season. Wrestling didn’t always come easy to the youngest Lefever brother, however. In high school he finished his freshman season with a dismal 11-18 record. He improved by his sophomore year, finishing 26-15. As a junior things really started to click. Riley was 38-3 his junior year, wrestling at 160 pounds. In his senior season Riley finished 46-1 and was a state runner up. “I didn’t really start to enjoy wrestling until my freshman year,” Riley said. “That’s when I found my love for the sport. I started wrestling all year around with my brothers. Because of that, I really started to improve pretty quickly.” The Lefevers are each others’ biggest supporters, but they are also highly competitive with one another – especially Conner and Reece. “With Riley being the little, big brother (he’s younger, but physically bigger) he doesn’t get into it as much as Reece and Conner do,” Irwin said. “I think those two would just assume kill each other then let the other guy win. We have to break them up all the time for the good of the team." “But as much as they fight, I don’t think anyone could be as supportive to each other as they are.” Conner admits that Riley is the toughest of the three right now, mainly because of his size. “Riley would beat the crap out of us,” he said. “He throws us around like rag dolls. We have had a lot of time to throw him around like that, until he got in college. We don’t like it, but it is what it is.” All three brothers credit their parents, Kent and Nancy, for pushing them to get better in the sport. “I know the way we were raised has had a big impact on how we wrestle,” Reece said. “My parents sent us to camps. They were always willing to spend the time and money it took to get us to tournaments and camps. They always made sure they gave us every opportunity in wrestling.” Even now, Kent and Nancy do not miss any matches. They travel all across the country to see their three boys compete. All three are hoping to take home a National Championship. They know that if they do, Wabash will place higher than it ever has before. “They all three can win,” Irwin said. “And hopefully get us some bonus points in the mix. If they do that, that will put us in contention for a National title.” Wabash finished the season with a 12-2 mark and was fourth at the National Duals. “We all love this school,” Reece said. “The team camaraderie is very good. We are all close friends and we all want our team to succeed. We are definitely a family at Wabash.”
  4. Brought to you by EI Sports By JEREMY HINES jerhines@cinergymetro.net To say Wabash College’s wrestling program is like a family might be an understatement. Wabash has five wrestlers who have qualified for this weekend’s Division III Nationals, three of which are brothers. The Little Giant’s are hoping those brothers can catapult the team to their best ever finish in the National Championship. “Last year we finished ninth as a team, which was our best finish ever,” Wabash assistant coach Danny Irwin said. “Without a doubt we feel like we should do much better this year, just based on our seeds. All five guys are capable of getting on top of the podium.” Wabash is led by the Lefever brothers, who wrestled for Fort Wayne Carroll in high school. Twins Reece and Conner are seniors. Reece is the No. 2 seed at 157 pounds. Conner is the top seed at 174 pounds and younger brother Riley, a sophomore, is a returning champion who is the No. 1 seed at 184 pounds. Wabash freshman Devin Broukal and junior Ethan Farmer, both from Bloomington South High School, have also qualified for Nationals, but are unseeded. Riley won Nationals last season. Wrestling didn’t always come easy to the youngest Lefever brother, however. In high school he finished his freshman season with a dismal 11-18 record. He improved by his sophomore year, finishing 26-15. As a junior things really started to click. Riley was 38-3 his junior year, wrestling at 160 pounds. In his senior season Riley finished 46-1 and was a state runner up. “I didn’t really start to enjoy wrestling until my freshman year,” Riley said. “That’s when I found my love for the sport. I started wrestling all year around with my brothers. Because of that, I really started to improve pretty quickly.” The Lefevers are each others’ biggest supporters, but they are also highly competitive with one another – especially Conner and Reece. “With Riley being the little, big brother (he’s younger, but physically bigger) he doesn’t get into it as much as Reece and Conner do,” Irwin said. “I think those two would just assume kill each other then let the other guy win. We have to break them up all the time for the good of the team." “But as much as they fight, I don’t think anyone could be as supportive to each other as they are.” Conner admits that Riley is the toughest of the three right now, mainly because of his size. “Riley would beat the crap out of us,” he said. “He throws us around like rag dolls. We have had a lot of time to throw him around like that, until he got in college. We don’t like it, but it is what it is.” All three brothers credit their parents, Kent and Nancy, for pushing them to get better in the sport. “I know the way we were raised has had a big impact on how we wrestle,” Reece said. “My parents sent us to camps. They were always willing to spend the time and money it took to get us to tournaments and camps. They always made sure they gave us every opportunity in wrestling.” Even now, Kent and Nancy do not miss any matches. They travel all across the country to see their three boys compete. All three are hoping to take home a National Championship. They know that if they do, Wabash will place higher than it ever has before. “They all three can win,” Irwin said. “And hopefully get us some bonus points in the mix. If they do that, that will put us in contention for a National title.” Wabash finished the season with a 12-2 mark and was fourth at the National Duals. “We all love this school,” Reece said. “The team camaraderie is very good. We are all close friends and we all want our team to succeed. We are definitely a family at Wabash.” Click here to view the article
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