InterMat Wrestling – Grand View wins eighth straight NAIA national title

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Grand View claimed the NAIA team title (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

DES MOINES, Iowa — No. 1 Grand View wrestling clinches their 8th consecutive national team title while crowning two individual national champions at the 2019 NAIA National Championship hosted by Catch Des Moines.

Josh Wenger (149) and Evan Hansen (197) both earned individual national titles, collecting a total of five between the two of them over the past three years.

Grand View scored a total a 219 team points, 134 points ahead of second place Lindsey Wilson. Grand View becomes only the second university nationally to claim eight-consecutive national titles, joining the University of Iowa in NCAA Division I. The Vikings are one of three schools with eight total titles in the NAIA.

Evan Hansen joins the short list of three-time NAIA National Champions. The last grappler to join this list was Grand View alum Eric Thompson (2012-2014). Hansen won by decision over No. 2 seed Isaac Bartel of MSU-Northern, 6-4. He finished the season with a 19-1 record.

Wenger, who came into the tournament as the No.5 seed, claimed his second individual national title as a Viking, pinning teammate and second-seeded Devin Reynolds, who finished national runner-up, in the second period.

Wenger was the national champion as a freshman in 2017 in the 141 bracket and ends his season with a 30-8 record. Reynolds finishes his season with a 30-4 record and 17 pins, with four coming in the NAIA National Championships.

Seniors Shiquan Hall and Eric Clarke also finished as national runner-ups at 133 and 141, respectively. Hall dropped 4-2 in a tiebreaker to second-seeded Erique Early of Indiana Tech. Second-seeded Clarke dropped to top-seeded David Berg of Midland, 2-1

At 165 pounds, fifth-seeded Ryan Niven also came in runner-up, after suffering a last-second setback. Brett Bradford, the second seed from Lindsey Wilson, scored a takedown in the closing seconds to even the match, and the riding time point gave him the 6-5 decision.

Trevor Murano (125) and Lawton Benna (174) both brought home third place finishes. Benna became the fourth Viking in program history to earn four NAIA All-American honors. Benna defeated the No.6-seed Chase Vincent of Oklahoma City, 9-2.

Murano brings home his second All-American honor after dropping a match early on before battling through the backside of the bracket to finish 7-1 in the tournament, including three pins. In the third place match, Murano pinned third-seeded Keegan Hessler of Morningside in 27 seconds.

Artie Bess (184) placed fourth, dropping the third-place match to top-seeded Antonio Stewart of Reinhardt, 3-1.

Justin Portillo finished fifth in the 125 bracket, and earned his second NAIA All-American honor, after defeating Koby Millner of Reinhardt by 19-0 in his final match of the tournament.

In the 157 bracket, Steven Lawrence and Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer were scheduled to face another in the fifth-place match. Rodriquez-Spencer was forced to withdraw due to medical forfeit and finished sixth with Lawrence earning fifth place accolades.

Grand View has earned a total of 94 NAIA All-Americans and 28 individual national championships, the fourth most in the NAIA.





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