LA CROSSE, Wis. — Ben Presler and Nate Schmitz added their names to the growing list of Cobber All-Americans as they both finished fifth at the NCAA National Meet in La Crosse, Wis. on Saturday.
The pair helped Concordia earn 27.5 teams points and finish in 13th place. It marks the third straight season that the Cobbers have finished in the top 15 of the nation. Presler and Schmitz continue the great streak of Concordia All-Americans. CC has now had nine athletes earn All-American honors in the past five years.
Presler and Schmitz were part of a contingent of four Concordia athletes that earned a spot at the national meet. Daron Hohbein and Tom Bouressa also competed at the meet but failed to finish in the top eight to earn All-American honors.
Presler, who was unseeded entering the national meet, went 4-2 at 125 to earn his first All-American award. He started the tournament by dominating No.8-ranked Stephen Hinton. Presler posted a 17-0 technical fall to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. He then lost a tough 9-6 decision to No.1-ranked Nathan Fitzenreider of North Central.
Presler started the wrestleback portion by pinning Brandon Gauthier of Rhode Island College. He then posted a 10-2 major decision over Charlie Frankel of Delaware Valley in the all-important match to earn All-American honors. Presler lost 5-0 in the wrestleback semifinals before coming back to record a 3-0 win over No.3-ranked Jimmy Gotto of Coe in the fifth-place match. Presler has now won 33 matches in the past two seasons.
Schmitz, like Presler, went 4-2 at the NCAA Meet. He also won his first match, lost the second and then made a run in the wrestlebacks to earn his first All-American honor. Schmitz, seeded sixth at 197, beat Reid Mosqueara of Johns Hopkins 5-2 in the opener. He then lost the closest match of the tournament by any CC wrestler when he lost 5-4 in an instant classic to No.3-ranked Dustin Baxter of St. John’s.
Schmitz started his wrestleback streak by recording a 10-2 major decision over Andrew Lovins of Heidelberg. That set up a match for All-American honors against #7 William Meaney of Elizabethown. Schmitz controlled the match from the start and went on to win 8-1. Schmitz lost a 1-0 nailbiting decision against No.4-ranked Brad Baus of Augsburg. He then capped his national meet by beating #5 Trent Flegel of Luther 5-3. Schmitz finished his junior season by recording a team-high 30 wins.
The bad break award of the NCAA Meet goes to Bouressa who was upset in the first round at 285 but then had to face the No.1-ranked Derick Hesson of Mount Union who was also upset in the first round. Bouressa lost both his matches by a combined total of two points. He fell 4-3 in the opener and then lost 4-3 to Hesson who went on to earn third-place honors and had 41 wins on the year.
Hohbein was upset in the opening round in overtime. He came into the national meet seeded fourth but then lost 8-6 in OT to Joe Mileski of UW-Stevens Point. Hohbein started the wrestlebacks by getting a 10-1 major decision over Eric McCann of Delaware Valley. Then, like Bouressa, Hohbein had to face one of the top 2 wrestlers in the weight division after a startling early-round upset. Hohbein had his national meet ended when he lost 9-3 to No.2-ranked Corey Brown of Thiel.