DES MOINES, Iowa — Two Bethany College wrestlers qualified for the NAIA National Championships by their performances on Saturday in the NAIA Central National Qualifier.
Zach Anderson, at 197, and 141-pounder Dane Edwards earned their way on to the center stage. They will compete in two weeks at the Topeka Expocentre.
In order to qualify, individual wrestlers must finish in fourth place or higher in their respective weight divisions. In addition, the Swedes await the announcement to hear if they receive any of the at-large bids.
Anderson was the champion at 197. He won by fall at :35 against Jonathan Maraille (Central Baptist) and won by fall at 2:22 over Felipe Nava (Bacone). In the semifinals, he won by a 7-6 decision over Andrew Mahone (Missouri Baptist). He then won by fall at 4:21 in the championship against Kasey Crump of fellow KCAC school Ottawa.
Edwards took second at 141. He won by fall over Tyler Mann (Benedictine College) at 4:40, won by fall against Dante Padilla (Williams Baptist) at 6:14, and won by 5-3 decision against Chris Hart (Wayland Baptist). Edwards lost by fall at 3:56 to Brandon Wright (Grand View) in the finals.
Bethany finished fifth with 75 points. Grand View (Iowa) won the event with 218 points, followed by Missouri Valley (124.5), Oklahoma City (123), Baker (89.5), Bethany (75), Williams Baptist (75), Wayland Baptist (Texas) (57.5), Benedictine College (47.5), Missouri Baptist University (37.5), Ottawa (34.5), Hannibal-LaGrange (MO) (29), Bacone (Okla.) (19), Lyon College (14) and Central Baptist (Ark.) (2.5).
"This was a tough tournament for us,” Bethany coach Cody Garcia said. "It was competitively tough, physically tough on us and emotionally tough on the group. The central group has so much depth and if you can battle through it, you can be confident that you can go with anyone in the nation. The week took a toll on us physically as well. We weren't completely healthy heading into the week, but I would have never expected the challenges and adversity that we ran into this week. It was a brutal weekend with the injury bug cutting a few seasons short. The hardest thing was to see these seniors finish their career two weeks shorter than we expected. I love the heck out of that group and can't thank them enough for what they have done for this program and how they have impacted me. As for the guys moving on, they battled and have a chance to do something special here in two weeks in Topeka."
125: Quinton Harrison, 2-2 (4 points)
133: Ty Kolterman, 1-2 (1.50 points)
141: John Risewick, 1-2 (1 point)
141: Dane Edwards, 3-1 (2nd place, 17 points)
149: Victor Hughes, 4-2 (5th place, 7 points)
149: Courtney Strauss, 0-2
157: Jonathan Blackwell, 3-3 (6th place, 11 points)
165: Tanner Ogden, 1-2 (3 points)
165: Steven Scott, 1-2 (.50 points)
184: Trevor Whittaker, 2-2 (5 points)
197: Zach Anderson, 4-0 (1st place, 21 points)
197: Kyler Atwood, 0-2