Hessler and Garcia earn All-America honors
Morningside’s Keegan Hessler and Steven Garcia each had place winning performances at the 2017 NAIA Wrestling National Championships in Topeka, Kan., to earn NAIA All-America honors.
Hessler, a 125 lb. sophomore from Scottsbluff, Neb., earned All-America honors with a sixth place finish in the 125 lb. division. Garcia, a 149 lb. junior from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, earned his All-America honors with a sixth place finish in the 149 lb. division. Garcia was an All-American for the second time in his career after he finished fourth in the 149 lb. division at last year’s NAIA National Championships.
Hessler, ranked sixth in the nation, pinned Joshua Johnson of Warner Pacific University in 6:53 in his first match of the tournament before a 10-7 loss against second-ranked Matthew Nguyen of Eastern Oregon University dropped him into the consolation bracket. Hessler won his first two matches in the consolation bracket with a 7-1 decision against Olson Delisca of Southeastern University and a 5-2 decision against eight-ranked Sawyer Miller of Indiana Tech. Hessler lost an 11-5 decision against Devane Dodgens of Life University before he lost by fall in 3:54 against 14th-ranked Dustin Miller of Lyon College in the fifth place consolation match.
Garcia, ranked seventh in the nation, won his first round bout with a 10-4 decision against John Risewick of Bethany College. Garcia suffered a 21-10 loss against 14th-ranked Hunter Bell of the University of the Cumberlands in the second round to drop into the consolation bracket. Garcia won three matches in Friday’s consolation bracket action with a 6-3 decision against Jerod Booth of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a 3-1 triumph against Kenny Boyd of Missouri Valley College and a 3-1 decision against Casey Dobson of Great Falls University.
Garcia scored his biggest victory of the season in Saturday’s consolation bracket quarterfinals when he upset No. 1-ranked Victor Hughes of Baker University, the defending champion, by a 4-2 decision in overtime. Garcia lost a 2-1 decision when he faced second-ranked Tyler Cowger of Southern Oregon University in the consolation semifinals. Garcia lost by fall in 6:54 against 12th-ranked Jaedin Sklapsky of Campbellsville University in the fifth place consolation match.
Morningside’s Dakota Drenth, Tyler Lashbrook, Derik Bailey and Logan Moore were eliminated on Friday.
Drenth, a sophomore from Hartley, Iowa, recorded his team-high 11th fall of the season when he pinned Jared Booth of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 56 seconds in his first round bout. Drenth followed that triumph with a 6-4 upset win against fifth-ranked Seth Ehlang of Dickinson State University before a 13-7 loss against fourth ranked Walker Marshall of No. 1-ranked Grand View University dropped him into the consolation bracket. Drenth was eliminated after he dropped a 10-2 verdict against No. 1-ranked Victor Hughes of Baker.
Lashbrook, a senior from Wellsburg, Iowa, suffered a 14-6 loss against Chandler Michael of Southern Oregon and lost by fall in 6:08 against 15th-ranked Mitch Roadruck of Indiana Tech.
Bailey, a junior from Smithland, Iowa, was eliminated after he lost a 6-1 decision against seventh-ranked Anthony Orozco of Benedictine College and dropped an 11-3 verdict against Connor Webber of Lyon.
Moore, a junior from Onawa, Iowa, had one of the Mustangs’ biggest victories of the tournament when he upset seventh-ranked Jon Solano of Dickinson State University with a 9-4 decision. Solano was a returning NAIA All-American after he placed fourth at 184 lbs. last year. An 8-4 loss against fourth-ranked Matt Walker of Lindsey Wilson College, who finished third at 174 lbs. last season, dropped Moore into the consolation bracket, where he was eliminated after a 4-3 loss against 10th-ranked Dillon Francisco of Indiana Tech.