The Swedes wrestling team qualified four wrestlers on Saturday, February 17 in first ever Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championships. As a team, the Swedes finished second place and had two grapplers earn individual titles.
125 – Taylor Holman
Sophomore, Taylor Holman picked up seven points for the team when he won his first round match over Trevor Compton of Ottawa University. Holman pinned the Ottawa Brave in 3:55. Unfortunately, Holman then faced some stiff competition in the later rounds, picking up a sixth place finish in the tournament.
125 – Logan McDowell
In the first round, junior, Logan McDowell picked up a 6-2 win over Logan Swank of the University of Saint Mary. McDowell was unable to overcome Noah Martinez of Ottawa University in the semifinal match. In the consolation semifinals, McDowell picked up a thrilling 8-6 sudden victory over Compton of Ottawa before picking up a 9-7 win over Swank of USM to earn third place in the tournament.
133 – Trey Edwards
Freshman, Trey Edwards earned a second place finish in the tournament, earning a spot at nationals thanks to his national ranking.
Edwards first pinned Ryan Wahl of Ottawa University in 3:50 before defeating Julian Melecio of York 5-3 in the semifinal match. Finally, Edwards lost to Robert Ozuna of York College in a very close championship match. Ozuna defeated Edwards 9-4, a score that does not do justice to the competition that took place during this bout.
141 – Conner Mares-Ballard
Due to a first round bye, freshman, Conner Mares-Ballard began his tournament in the semifinals with Justin Dyer of York. Mares-Ballard fell to the eventual tournament runner-up in 3:19. Mares-Ballard received another bye in the consolation semifinal before earning fourth place due to an injury.
157 – Brandon Lawson-Archuleta
With his individual tournament championship, junior, Brandon Lawson-Archuleta earned an automatic qualification to nationals.
With a first round bye, Lawson-Archuleta was set to take on John Pacha of Ottawa in the semifinals. Lawson-Archuleta defeated Pacha in a very close 5-4 match. He then wrestled another thrilling match in the finals, defeating Patrick Boulanger of Saint Mary 16-14 in a sudden victory. Lawson-Archuleta took down Boulanger in a back and forth contest, earning his spot on top of the podium.
165 – Jordon Ward
Freshman, Jordon Ward’s performance in the tournament earned him a second place finish and one of the three coveted conference wildcard spots.
Ward began the tournament with a 7-3 defeat over Logan Bowen of Saint Mary, he then defeated Micah Miller of Ottawa without difficulty, 13-6. Finally, Ward battled hard before suffering a 6-2 defeat in the tournament championship.
174 – Zach Gadbois
Freshman, Zach Gadbois is the final Swede to earn a spot at nationals with his individual tournament championship.
Gadbois received a first-round bye, before winning by disqualification over Justin Kearney of Saint Mary. Gadbois finally defeated Benjamin DeJarnett of Ottawa 7-4 to earn his spot at Nationals.
174 – Nicolas Desch
Sophomore, Nicolas Desch lost a close 11-9 matchup with Sidney Douglas of USM in the first round before receiving a bye in the first round of the consolation bracket. Desch then picked up a forfeit over Kearney of USM before avenging his earlier loss, defeating Douglas of Saint Mary to earn a third place finish in the tournament.
197 – Joe Steve
Earning a first round bye, sophomore, Joseph Steve‘s first bout of the tournament was in the semifinals against Dakota Carnes of USM. Steve fell to the eventual tournament runner-up, before pinning Horacio Martinez of Ottawa in 1:24. Finally, Steve suffered a 3-1 loss to teammate, Gregory Harvey to earn fourth place in the tournament.
197 – Gregory Harvey
Freshman, Gregory Harvey first pinned Martinez of Ottawa in 4:18 before falling in 2:03 to tournament champion, Jack Murphy of York. Harvey then received a bye before defeating teammate, Joseph Steve 3-1, winning third place in the tournament.
285 – Andy Tope
Sophomore, Andy Top suffered a first round pin to Arnoldo Mendoza III before rebounding in the second round, pinning Charlie Young of Saint Mary in 3:19. Tope then fell to Justus Bjellend of York before avenging his earlier loss to Mendoza from Ottawa, pinning him in 1:37. This gave Tope a fifth place finish in the tournament.
As a team, the Swedes scored 127 points to earn a runner-up finish behind York College with 149 points.
Swedes head coach, Larry Nugent, was honored by his colleagues with the KCAC Coach of the Year award. In addition to this, the Swedes earned the first ever, KCAC Wrestling Team of Character award for their efforts in the community.
Up Next . . .
Edwards, Lawson-Archuleta, Ward, and Gadbois will compete in the NAIA National Championships on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center in Des Moines, Iowa. See all of the NAIA National Qualifiers here.