March 6, 2007

DIII Finals Recap

I posted this on a message board, and I'm sharing it with you:

DIII Finals Recap

125 Hansen (Luther) dec. Flodeen (Augsburg) 3-2
Both wrestlers had a rocky road to the finals. Hansen was taken down twice in the first period by Heilman of Cornell but won by scoring a defensive fall off a far side cradle. Flodeen defeated Helvey of Wartburg when Helvey got his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cautions all in a row with 12 seconds left to put Flodeen ahead by a point. Quite the mental breakdown. The finals was a ho hum affair with Hansen getting the sole takedown in the first period. They traded escapes frome there and Hansen won 3-2.

133 Morgan (Kings) dec. Vanier (Augsburg) 4-3
Both guys tried almost nothing for the first 6 minutes of the match and both were warned for stalling twice. Morgan finally took a shot to the left and immediately executed a lightning quick peekout and scored the match's only takedown. At the end, Vanier never really attempted anything as time ran down. Morgan is the first champ ever from King's College. His brother was 2nd at 141 in 2003.

141 Osborn (Augsburg) dec. LaForge (Delaware Valley) 7-3
Both wrestlers handled everyone else in the bracket to get here. LaForge knew the underhooks were coming with Osborn and capitalized with a first period fireman's carry. LaForge failed the escape in the second, and Osborn got two with a tilt. Osborn picked neutral, got a takedown, and rode LaForge hard, getting a stalling point while ahead. LaForge finally got out, but it was too little, too late.

149 Pyle (Luther) pin Roush (Mt. St. Joseph) 2:04
Three former champs at this weight and none of them were the #1 seed. Roush beat Evans and Larsen each 2-1 to make the final while Pyle was dominant in beating everyone, including Pflug. A quick snap and spin scored the first takedown (if I remember right), and Pyle used a tight waist and arm bar tilt followed by punching his arm bar fist to the mat to turn Roush and secure the fall. Pyle was named OW in the toughest weight in the tournament.

157 Anderson (Augsburg) dec. Galante (TCNJ) 5-2
After going 0-2 last year as the #1 seed, Galante stormed to the finals. Anderson had a rematch of the regional final against Gingerich in the semis. They felt each other out for the first period, and then Galanted scored an explosive takedown in the second. As time ran out in the 2nd, Galanted was in on a double leg (I thought it was 2) but in the ref's eyes, Anderson fought it off. In the third, Galante chose neutral with the score tied. Anderson timed a single leg to the left perfectly with a mistake reach by Galante and scored the winning takedown and rode him out.

165 LeVesseur (Augsburg) dec. Guenther (TCNJ) 3-0
LeVesseur dominated Knipp (who was still wearing his ISU headgear) 10-2 in the semis. Guenther won in the quarters and semis with a cement mixer. Guenther is also enormous at that weight. LeVesseur seemed content just to win and make sure he finished his career undefeated. The one real shot (a double) he took, he scored with, and it was obvious he could have done that whenever he wanted, but I think he saw Guenther's previous matches and didn't want to screw things up here. He finished his career undefeated and the first 4xer in DIII. ISU transfer Knipp ended up 5th, losing also to Palmer of UW-Lax.

174 Chelf (UW-Lax) maj. dec. Vanderhyde (Olivet) 9-0
Chelf put the hammer down on Vanderhyde in this match. He scored single legs in each period and never gave up an escape, getting a stalling point in the third to punctuate his dominance. On the first takedown, he shot to one side, got to his feet, popped his head to the far side and took Vanderhyde off his feet. It was nice.

184 Madden (Hunter) dec. Sair (Cortland) 3-2
Sair (1st @ 174 in '06) was one of the three best athletes in the tournament (along with Pflug and LeVesseur IMO), but Madden wasn't far behind. Madden took out Lulloff to make the finals, while Sair handed Djoumessi his 2nd loss of the year. Lots of pushing in this one. Each guy fought off a serious takedown threat in the first two periods, but Madden was able to make one stick in the third. Three different finals featured one wrestler in the two piece uniform. TCNJ, Hunter, and NYU all were wearing them.

197 Miller (Wartburg) maj. dec. Strandberg (Buena Vista) 11-3
Miller dominated all year and had the unseeded Strandberg in this one. Miller scored with a banana split and some nice shots. The outcome was never really in doubt, but Strandberg had a great tournament and did make Miller work for it. After the match, coach Jim Miller jumped into his (much larger) son's arms.

285 Gillis (Wartburg) dec. Kmetz (Baldwin-Wallace) 4-0
Gillis was a 3x runner up to Allen of UW-Lax. Kmetz was the biggest heavyweight there. Tall, strong, low body fat, but Gillis is a very good wrestler, if his 3rd place finish at the Midlands didn't convince. Gillis was able to ride Kmetz and scored a reversal in the third and rode him out again. No takedowns in this one as a fairly underwhelming final session came to a close.

As usual, the All-America round on Friday night was one of the most exciting parts of the tournament as guys left it all on the mat.

Other Notables: Augsburg had 9 AA's and won the title. UW-Lax had a disappointing tournament, and their fans came off as not that knowledgeable, booing when Larsen lost to Roush when there were no controversial calls, chanting "East Coast Timeout" during blood time (when the wrestler was from Ohio, to boot) or when a kid's headgear broke. I can't fault their enthusiasm, though. Eight #1 seeds won championships. The other two #1's didn't make the finals (Evans and Lulloff). Chambers of Platteville placed two years after spending a season chasing insurgents in Iraq. Swenson was coach of the year. The Five Flags center was a good venue with two full warmup mats and plenty of seating, though the fact that the nearest reasonable airport is 90 minutes away isn't great. The tournament is in Cedar Rapids next year, so all you Hawkeye fans should tear yourselves away from your Big 10 live updates and go see some actual wrestling next March.

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