WHEATON, Ill. - It was a good weekend for the Trine University wrestling team as they placed eight at the two-day, 29-team Pete Wilson-Wheaton Invitational with 69 points. Division II Wis.-Parkside won the team title with 151.5 points.
The Thunder placed three wrestlers into the semi-finals, finishing the meet with a first, second and fourth places.
In the 157 pound weight class, senior All-American Elias Larson (Chicago, Ill./Marion Catholic) continued his domination of opponents, plowed his way through three nationally ranked opponents, including the top wrestler in Division II, en-route to being named the George Olson Most Outstanding Wrestler. Larson also took home the Jack Schwartz award for the most falls in the least amount of time as the only wrestler to pin four opponents on the weekend.
The top ranked wrestler in Division III, Larson was relentless against his first four opponents as he won each match by pin fall to advance to the championship match. Larson began the weekend by pinning Zack Sheridan of Elizabethtown at 3 minutes and 57second of their match before taking care of 22nd ranked Brandon Stradel of Wis.-Eau Claire in just 39 seconds, the third fastest pin in the entire tournament. Larson would then take care of conference rival Shawn Brewer from Alma, pinning him in 3:37. To advance to the championship match, Larson took down 15th ranked Mark Savenok from Wheaton at 2:43 of their match. The championship match would pit the top ranked wrestler in Division III against the No. 1 wrestler in Division II in All-American Dillon Bera from Wis.-Parkside. In the closest match of the tournament for either wrestler, Larson pulled out a 5-4 victory to take home the gold.
Sophomore Brandon Preston (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) went 3-1 on the weekend en-route to a second place finish in the 125lbs division. Preston, who came into the tournament ranked 25th in Division III, won his opening match by pin fall, defeating Michael Buckiso from John Carroll at 5:53 of their match. Preston would follow that up by edging out 15th ranked Isaac Balsiger of Wis.-La Crosse 7-6. Preston has now defeated Balsiger twice, both of which are his only losses of the season. Preston would advance to the championship match by defeating the fourth ranked wrestler in DIII Jake Scholten from Augustana 6-5. The gold medal match was a tough one for Preston as he fell to 10th ranked Sean Ambrocio of Concordia (WI) by tech fall.
Senior Ryan Pieper (Onsted, Mich./Onsted) finished the invitational fourth in the 174 pound division. Pieper, the eighth ranked wrestler in the nation, won his opening match by a major decision over Greg Ventris from Knox 13-1. In the second round, Pieper defeated Ezekial Zimmer of Elizabethtown by another major decision 12-4. Pieper would then defeat 15th ranked Matt McCrary from Wheaton 9-7 to advance to the semi-finals. Pieper would come up just short of the championship match, falling to All-American Kevin O'Brien from Wis.-La Crosse 6-2. To advance to the third place match, Pieper defeated 20th ranked Ben Kramer of Messiah 7-5. In the third place match, Pieper would again fall by a score of 6-2 to 15th ranked Dan Schiferl of Wis.-Oshkosh.
Also taking home wins for Trine was freshman Nick Ader (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) at 133 pounds. The eighth seeded Ader fell just shy of placing for the Thunder after picking up two wins in the wrestle-back bracket. After falling in his opening match, Ader picked up two victories by pin fall. First Ader defeated Adam Wyeth of Chicago at 6:09 and then Aaron Davis from Wabash at 4:12 of the match.
Trine will host their first dual meet of the season when Alma comes to Hershey Hall on February 7 for a 7:00 p.m. match.