By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
TOPEKA, Kan. – (Team Scoring | Brackets) Two-time defending national champion Grand View (Iowa) continued its Session I dominance into Session II, extending its team total to 113 points Friday evening at the Kansas Expocentre. The Vikings own a 62-point edge over second place Great Falls (Mont.), which currently rests with 51 points, followed by Montana State-Northern with 50 points.
Individually, all six defending national champions remain alive in the championship bracket, headlined by two-time national champions Brock Gutches (174) of Southern Oregon and Eric Thompson (285) of Grand View (Iowa). Thompson, who is vying to become the first heavyweight to win three-straight national titles since Jeff Thue of Simon Fraser (B.C.) accomplished the feat in 1991, 1992 and 1993, pinned his four-straight opponent in national championships action, downing Tyler Kacmarynski of Morningside (Iowa) in 55 seconds . With the win, Thompson improves to 12-0 all-time at the national championships with nine pins.
Similarly, Gutches has been dominant in his three trips to the national championships. The junior 174 pounder is 11-0 with six pins. Gutches advanced to the semifinals with an 18-1 technical fall win against Indiana Tech’s L.J. Grayson. He will take on fellow defending national champion Jimmie Schuessler of Grand View Saturday morning for a chance to compete for a third-straight title.
Overall, returning All-Americans finished the championship bracket quarterfinals with an 18-12 record.
Arguably the most interesting semifinal match includes Joe Cozart of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Grand View’s Quinten Haynes, who squared off in the semifinals of last year’s championships. Cozart took 5:52 to stick Jordan Langley of Morningside (Iowa), while Haynes posted a 13-3 major decision victory against Chad Cebulski of Great Falls (Mont.) to reach the round of four. Cozart and Haynes wrestled earlier this season in the championship of the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals. Cozart got the best of Haynes in that match, claiming a sudden victory win, 4-2.
The third session of the 57th annual event will start Saturday at 10 a.m. CST. The championship finals will take place at 7 p.m. CST.
For live match-by-match results, click here.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video streaming company of 17 select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting the title bouts (Session IV) of the 2014 NAIA Wrestling National Championships on March 8. Packages can be purchased for $9.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
For additional national championships information, click here.