LA CROSSE, Wis. – Concordia advanced a school-record three wrestlers to the semifinals of the NCAA Meet on Friday. Phil Moenkedick, Justin Berns and Tom Bouressa all earned a spot in the Final Four on Saturday.
The Terrific Three helped the Cobbers finish day 1 of the national meet in seventh place with a total of 35.5 points. That point total already surpasses their two-day total from last year when they finished in ninth place. The 35.5 team points trails only the 1978 team that also finished in ninth place at the NCAA Meet with a final total of 46.25 points.
Moenkedick, Berns and Bouressa all won two matches on the day to earn a spot in the semifinals and clinch All-American honors. Ben Presler,Daron Hohbein and Nathan Schmitz, the other three Concordia national meet entrants, were all knocked out of the competition on day 1.
Moenkedick was his usual dominating self as he scored a pin fall and a major decision on his way to his 33rd win of the season. He pinned Scott Lowe of the Merchant Marines in the first round at 6:14 and then posted a 12-4 major decision win over No.8 seeded Dustin Baxter of St. John’s in the quarterfinals. He will now face unranked Seth Rehn of Coe who downed the No.4 and No.5 seeds on his way to the semifinals.
Berns, the No.5 seed at 157, started his quest for a national title by recording a technical fall over Mike Wiley of Plymouth in the first round and then beat unranked Erik Hanson of Loras 9-3 in the quarterfinals. Berns is now 28-4 on the year. He received a great break when top seeded Derek Brenon of Ithaca lost in the opning round which means he will face No.8 seed Dan Twito of the Merchant Marines with the winner gaining a spot in the national championship match.
Bouressa kept his magic sophomore season going by winning two more wins to bring his season total to 25. He started the national meet unranked at 285 and opened by beating No.6 seed Corey James of SUNY-Cortland 3-1. Bouressa then edged No.3 seed Judson Connell of Merchant Marines 9-5 in overtime to earn his spot in the semifinals. Bouressa will face No.2 seed Mark Corsello of Elmhurst. Corsello beat Bouressa in the championship match of the Great Lakes Regional Meet on Feb. 26.
Presler and Schmitz were both competing in their very first NCAA Championship Meet and both lost a pair of matches on the day. Presler was seeded sixth at 125 and lost to Carl Deluca of UW-Oshkosh 5-4 in his first match. He then fell 8-6 in the first round of the wrestlebacks to Steve Godine of the College of New Jersey. Schmitz, unseeded at 197, lost a heartbreaker in overtime in his first round match against #4 Ryan Malo of Williams. He then lost 8-3 to Chad Gregory from UW-Stevens Point in the first round of the wrestlebacks.
Hohbein won his first match of the day at 133 but then lost two straight. He pinned No.7 seed Dan Herr of the College of New Jersey at 6:41 but then lost to #2 Nathan Fitzenreider of North Central 4-1 in the quarterfinals. That was the identical score that Hohbein fell to Fitzenreider by in the championship match of the Great Lakes Regional. Drained from his tough loss in the quarterfinals, Hohbein lost 7-1 to #8 Thomas Mirocha of Wartburg in the second round of wrestlebacks.
The semifinal matches are slated to start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Mar. 12 with the championship matches beginning at 7 p.m.