Garcia earns All-America status with 4th place finish
Steven Garcia, a sophomore from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, earned NAIA All-America honors with a fourth place finish in the 149 lb. division at the 2016 NAIA Wrestling National Championships held Friday and Saturday in Topeka, Kan.
Garcia, who was ranked fifth nationally, won three of his five matches at the national tournament to finish the season with a record of 27-7.
Garcia’s bid for a national championship came to an end when he lost a 7-0 decision against ninth-ranked Victor Hughes of Baker University in Saturday morning’s semifinals.
Garcia rebounded with a victory in the consolation bracket semifinals when he scored a take down late in the third period for the deciding margin in a 3-1 decision against Dallas Brown of Life University, who was a returning All-American after a sixth place finish at last year’s tournament.
Garcia’s win against Brown advanced him to the third place consolation match against second-ranked Willie Fox of York College, where Fox won a 6-3 decision.
Garcia had advanced to the semifinals following a standout showing in Friday’s action.
Garcia opened the tournament with a first round bye before he outscored 10th-ranked Patrick Grigsby of Williams Baptist College by a 13-12 decision in the second round. That set up a quarterfinal round bout against 16th-ranked Kane Lovvorn of Wayland Baptist University, who Garcia defeated 9-6 to reach the semifinals.
The Mustangs other four national qualifiers were all eliminated on Friday.
Jared McCoy, a senior from Climbing Hill, Iowa, advanced to the 197 lb. quarterfinals before he suffered his first loss. McCoy had advanced to the quarterfinals with a first round bye and a 3-2 upset victory against 16th-ranked Kasey Crump of Ottawa University in the second round.
McCoy dropped into the consolation bracket after he lost by fall in 50 seconds against fourth-ranked Cody Linton of GPAC rival Doane College in Friday evening’s quarterfinals. McCoy was eliminated when he lost a 5-2 decision against 14th-ranked Ken Burkardt of GPAC rival Concordia University in his first consolation match. Burkhardt placed eighth at last year’s national tournament.
Eleventh-ranked Keegan Hessler, a freshman from Scottsbluff, Neb., won his first round match in the 125 lb. division by fall when he pinned Sean Nguyen of the University of the Cumberlands in a time of 5:13 for his seventh pin of the season.
Hessler dropped into the consolation bracket after he lost a 12-5 decision against third-ranked Troy Lakin of Menlo College in the second round.
Hessler pinned his first two opponents in the consolation bracket with fall times of 1:30 against 12th-ranked Dustin Miller of Lyon College and 4:15 against GPAC rival Austin Boles of Northwestern College. Hessler was eliminated when he lost on riding time in an 8-7 setback against Casey Coulter of Southern Oregon University.
Kyle Fowler, a freshman from Elk Point, S.D., lost by fall in 3:59 against Drake Randall of Montana State University-Northern in the first round of the 149 lb. division. Fowler stayed alive in the consolation bracket when he upset 10th-ranked Patrick Grigsby of Williams Baptist with a 10-3 decision before he was eliminated with an 11-7 loss against sixth-ranked Kenny Boyd of Missouri Valley College.
Dakota Drenth, a freshman from Hartley, Iowa, was eliminated from the 157 lb. division after he lost by an 18-0 technical fall against 15th-ranked Brandon Weber of Montana State-Northern in first round and lost by fall in 1:48 against Austin Coy of York College in his first consolation match.