Zierden’s Dream Season Reaches NCAA Title Match

LA CROSSE, Wis. — Gabe Zierden’s dream season finally came to an end in the 197-lb championship match at the NCAA National Meet.

Zierdan became the fifth athlete in program history to reach the championship match at an NCAA National Meet and the first since Phil Moenkedick in 2011.

Zierdan’s run to the title match helped the Cobbers score 15 points and finish in a tie for 25th place in the final team standings. It is the highest finish at an NCAA Meet for CC since the 2014 season.

Zierdan started the final day of the season by squaring off against No.7 seed Cameron Butka of Wilkes (Pa.). Like his two wins on Friday, Zierden started quickly by getting a takedown in the first period. He scored the decisive 3 points in the opening minute of the match and then ground out a 4-3 win. The match-winning point came when Butka was penalized for stalling in the third period.

The championship match was going to be an uphill battle the entire way as he faced defending national champion Massoma Endene of Wartburg, who was 50-1 in the past two seasons.

Endene was able to turn the table on Zierden by getting an early takedown and riding that to a win. Zierden was never able to get any offensive shots and fell 12-4 in the final.

Zierden ended his senior year with a 38-4 record and was 105-30 in his career at Concordia. The 38 wins tied the program’s single-season record. Justin Berns recorded 38 wins in 2009, and Mike Northcutt had 38 victories in 1989.

Zierden also became the 28th wrestler in program history to earn NCAA All-American honors.

NCAA Division III National Championships results

197 – Gabriel Zierden (32-2) placed 2nd and scored 15.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Gabe Zierden (Concordia) 32-2 over Demond Harrison (Albion) 27-11 (Dec 8-2)
Quarterfinal – Gabe Zierden (Concordia) 32-2 over Darby McLaughlin (Castleton) 29-8 (Dec 8-2)
Semifinal – Gabe Zierden (Concordia) 33-3 over Cameron Butka (Wilkes) 39-4 (Dec 4-3)
1st Place Match – Massoma Endene (Wartburg) over Gabe Zierden (Concordia) (MD 12-4)

Check out Cobber Wrestling at gocobbers.com. Follow on Facebook, X (Twitter), and Instagram. Cobber Tickets.

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