Zierden’s Senior Story Now Includes All-American Honors

LA CROSSE, Wis. — Gabe Zierden’s senior-year story just keeps getting better. Two weeks after earning his first-ever trip to the NCAA National Meet, Zierden never trailed in his first two matches on the biggest stage, posted back-to-back wins, and secured All-American honors.

Zierden claimed a pair of 8-2 decisions in the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals at 197 at the DIII national meet to advance to the semifinals and secure himself a spot in the Top 8, which earn All-American honors.

Zierden became the first Cobber wrestler to advance to the semifinals at an NCAA National Meet since heavyweight Tom Bouressa got to the Final 4 in 2011.

Zierden also became the 28th athlete in Concordia wrestling history to earn NCAA All-American honors. He gives the Cobbers back-to-back All-American award winners after Ty Bisek received the award last year at 133. It’s the first time since 2016 that CC has had back-to-back All-American award winners.

“Gabe stuck to his game plan very well in both matches,” head coach Quincy Osborne said. “He stayed disciplined with position, wrestled extremely hard and it showed in the outcome in both matches.”

Zierden, who was the No.3 seed in the tournament, started his day by squaring off against unseeded freshman Demond Harrison of Albion (Mich.). Zierdan was able to get a takedown in the first period to take a 3-0 lead after the first 3 minutes of action. He gave up an escape to start the second period, but the rest of the middle period was scoreless. Zierden won the match in the third period when he started on the bottom and came away with an escape after 20 seconds. He put the match to bed with a takedown with 53 seconds left to take a 7-1 lead. Harrison eventually got an escape, and Zierden got the extra point for riding time to bring the final score to 8-2.

The quarterfinal match was similar to the opener, with Zierden never trailing, getting a pair of takedowns and then using his advanced tactics to stay out of danger. Zierden faced another unseeded wrestler in the quarterfinals after Darby McLaughlin of Castleton (Vt.) upset No.6 seeded Gage Linahon of Central in the first round.

Zierden opened the scoring against McLaughlin with a takedown at the 90-second mark of the first period. He was able to stay on top for the remained of the period and took 1:30 riding time into the second period. Zierden recorded his second takedown at the 41-second mark of the second period and took a 6-0 lead after the first 5 minutes of the bout. The two wrestlers would trade single-point awards in the third period. Zierden got a point for stalling and added the bonus point for riding time, while McLaughlin posted an escape to start the period and was also awarded a point for Zierden stalling.

The two wins bring Zierden’s overall season record to 37-3. He is now 104-29 in his Cobber career. His 104 wins are the fourth most in program history.

Zierden will now face No.7 seed Cameron Butka of Wilkes (Pa.) in the semifinals. Wilkes is 38-2 on the season and won by decision in his first two matches of the meet.

2024 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships Results for Concordia-Moorhead

Gabriel Zierden (32-2) scored 8.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Gabe Zierden (Concordia) 32-2 won by decision over Demond Harrison (Albion) 27-11 (Dec 8-2)
Quarterfinal – Gabe Zierden (Concordia) 32-2 won by decision over Darby McLaughlin (Castleton) 29-8 (Dec 8-2)

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