No place like home for Herbert at University Nationals

By Craig Sesker | May 03, 2006, 11:05 a.m. (ET)
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern's Jake Herbert knew exactly what kind of strategy he needed to employ against Minnesota's Roger Kish.

Stay on his legs and don't even think about locking up with him.

Herbert did exactly that against the burly Kish, relying on leg attacks to capture the battle of NCAA runner-ups with a 4-0, 5-1 win in the 185-pound University Nationals freestyle finals Sunday afternoon at Northwestern's Welsh Ryan Arena

Herbert was named Outstanding Wrestler. Herbert has placed third and second at 174 pounds at the NCAAs his first two years in college, but is considering bumping up to 184 next season. Kish was second at 184 at the NCAAs in March and will be back next year.

"Oh my gosh, Kish is so big, strong and physical," Herbert said. "I'm not going to fight his upper body strength. I just attacked the legs and wrestled the style I am most comfortable with. That win was real big for my confidence."

Defending champion J.D. Bergman of Ohio State repeated as freestyle champion at 211.5 pounds. Returning champion Nick Simmons of Michigan State, who bumped up to 132 after winning here at 121 last year, lost to eventual champion Vic Moreno of Cal Poly in the quarterfinals. Simmons' brother, Andy, won the title at 145.5.

Champions at the University Nationals qualify to represent the United States at the World University Championships in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, on June 15-20. The top two finishers from the University Nationals in each weight class advance to the U.S. World Team Trials on May 26-28 in Sioux City, Iowa.

Herbert said he plans to compete at the World University Championships, but likely won't wrestle at the World Team Trials because of his academic schedule at Northwestern.

"Having this tournament at Northwestern is great," Herbert said. "It's awesome wrestling at home and sleeping in my own bed. I feel real comfortable here and it definitely gives me an advantage. It was a really fun weekend."

Bergman, upset in the Greco-Roman finals on Friday night, came back strong in freestyle. He beat Northwestern's Mike Tamillow 3-1, 3-0 in the finals on Sunday afternoon.

Moreno knocked off Simmons after winning the coin flip in the second and third periods and coming out ahead in the leg clinch. Moreno then downed true freshman Mike Rowe of Nebraska 3-0, 1-0 in the finals.

Andy Simmons, an All-American for Michigan State, beat former NCAA runner-up Phillip Simpson 4-3, 0-3, 1-0 in the finals. Nick Simmons pulled out of the tournament after his loss in the quarters. He has been slowed by a shoulder injury. Simmons placed third at the World Team Trials last year at 121.

Also winning championships on Sunday were Franklin Gomez (121) of the Michigan Wrestling Club, Iowa State's Trent Paulson (163) and reigning NCAA heavyweight champion Cole Konrad at 264.5 pounds.

Paulson was unable to defend his Greco-Roman title this weekend, but instead came back to beat former Missouri star Tyron Woodley in the freestyle finals after Woodley beat his twin brother Travis in the semifinals. Paulson also knocked off former NCAA champion Matt Gentry in the semis.