ST. LOUIS — Augustana sophomore Steven Hajas took home consolation championship honors on day two of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. Hajas, competing in the 285 pound weight class, went 2-1 Saturday afternoon and 4-1 overall at nationals.
“It’s been awesome,” said Hajas when asked about the tournament. “Brandon (Carroll) and I came here to put on a show for the guys back home and we did that.
“This is one of those experiences that you don’t forget.”
After going 2-0 and an All-America clinching performance on day one of nationals, Hajas took the mat across No. 4-ranked Weston Hunt of Colorado School of Mines in the semifinal bout to start the day. Hajas dropped a 7-2 decision in the match to move over to the consolation bracket.
The sophomore responded to the loss with two incredible performances, each of which featured rematches from day one.
In the consolation semifinal bout, Hajas met No. 5-ranked Tristen Weirich of Ashland University, who had previously been undefeated before being defeated by Hajas Friday afternoon. Tied 0-0 after the first period, Hajas logged an escape and took his opponent down for a 3-0 lead heading into the third period. Weirich was only able to register an escape point against Hajas as he came away with the 3-1 victory to clinch a spot in the consolation championship match.
In the consolation championship, Hajas took the mat against Lee Herrington of Nebraska-Kearney whom Hajas narrowly defeated 2-1 in overtime on Friday afternoon. This match proved to be much different for the 285 pounders.
Hajas drew first blood in the first period with a ferocious takedown for a 2-1 lead. Herrington responded with a takedown of his own to bring the score to 3-3 after the first period. In the second period, Hajas tallied another escape for a 4-3 lead, before some fireworks to end the period.
With less than 10 seconds to go in the second, Hajas took a shot at Herrington and took him down, also earning two near-fall points as time expired for an 8-3 lead. In the third period, Hajas tallied his third takedown of the match and went on to win in a 10-4 decision, clinching third-place honors and a consolation championship.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Steven’s effort,” head coach Jason Reitmeier said. “He showed so much heart and guts in every match! We will relish this for a bit, but Steven has bigger goals that he’s committed to achieving.”
Hajas’s 4-1 record at nationals brings his overall record this season to 11-4 and concludes the season for the Augustana wrestling squad.
“Obviously third isn’t first,” said Hajas. “Now I know what it’s going to take to get on top of that podium and it’s going to motivate me in the offseason and next year too.
“I can’t wait to bring this energy into the room and next year we’ll send the whole team [to nationals].”
Steven Hajas (11-4) placed 3rd and scored 12.5 team points.
- Champ. Round 1 – Steven Hajas (Augustana (SD)) 11-4 won by decision over Tristen Weirich (Ashland) 12-3 (Dec 4-1)
- Quarterfinal – Steven Hajas (Augustana (SD)) 11-4 won in tie breaker – 1 over Lee Herrington (Neb.-Kearney) 12-7 (TB-1 2-1)
- Semifinal – Weston Hunt (Colo. Sch. Of Mines) 8-1 won by decision over Steven Hajas (Augustana (SD)) 11-4 (Dec 7-2)
- Cons. Semi – Steven Hajas (Augustana (SD)) 11-4 won by decision over Tristen Weirich (Ashland) 12-3 (Dec 3-1)
- 3rd Place Match – Steven Hajas (Augustana (SD)) 11-4 won by decision over Lee Herrington (Neb.-Kearney) 12-7 (Dec 10-4)