The 2023 NCAA Div. III national champions – Augsburg University. Photo courtesy of Augsburg Athletics.
ROANOKE, Va. – Wrestling put on its own version of “All in the Family’ on Saturday night.
Brothers battled for one title, a son joined his father on the list of all-time champions and twins earned All-America honors to help the University of Dubuque to its highest point total in history at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships at the Berglund Center.
And brothers even played a role as Augsburg celebrated its 14th team title, compiling 101 points and winning the crown by 34.5 points.
OH, BROTHER, WHAT A MATCH
Nathan and Matthew Lackman knew for some time they could well be on a collision course this season.
Nathan moved up a weight after winning the title at 157 pounds last year, and they were ranked and seeded No. 1 and No. 2 in the country.
“It was unreal,” Nathan said when the matchup became a reality at 165 pounds Saturday night.
“I think so much led up to this. Countless nights, countless practices as my dad used to sacrifice putting both of us in the back seat … to go an hour away just to go to wrestling clubs. There are so many sacrifices and so much that led up to that. So much that I will remember forever.
“I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side through all those memories growing up.”
Both brothers will remember how Nathan took advantage of a missed opportunity by his brother to score a takedown and win 3-1 early in the two-minute overtime period.
“It’s wrestling,” Nathan said. “He went for something; I took him down. It could have happened to me. Things happen in wrestling. Maybe he did slip a little, maybe, maybe not. Regardless, I think we both accomplished something special.”
Matthew said: “I tried something at the end. It works in practice. You try it, and it doesn’t work in a match, and that’s just the way it went.
“Congrats to him, 100 percent.”
The match went to sudden victory after the only scoring in regulation came on escapes in the second and third periods.
“You’ve got to expect a close match, a barn-burner,” Matt said.
The wrestlers hugged before the match, and Nathan consoled his brother after it.
“Nothing’s going to change the bond we have,” Matt said.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
After winning the title at 149 pounds, Baldwin Wallace’s Michael Petrella descended the stairs adjacent to the mat on the stage and hugged his father, who was waiting there. It was a hug between champions.
Petrella defeated Javen Estrada of North Central 10-4 in the final to put his name on the list of all-time Division III national champions. Another of those names is Paul Petrella, who became the school’s first Division III wrestling All-American when he won the title at 177 pounds in 1978 for Baldwin Wallace.
“He said he was proud of me, and thought I did a great job,” Michael Petrella, “and no matter what happened I was meant to be a champion.”
A year after finishing second at the weight, then watching Millikin’s Bradan Birt win at 165 to join his father, Ryan, as the first Division III father-son champion combination, Petrella had few problems in beating North Central’s Javen Estrada 9-4. Petrella built a 5-0 lead with a takedown in each of the first two periods, and the match never got closer than two points after that.
JWU’S FRY BEATS DEFENDING CHAMP FROM BWU
In the opening match of the night, Division I transfer Joziah Fry completed an undefeated season (43-0) by denying Baldwin Wallace’s Jacob Decatur, also a Division I transfer, a second title.
“This is completely satisfying,” Fry said. “I’m glad I got it done – national champion. There is nothing better than that.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking facing the defending national champion. I knew he was a D-I guy who dropped down, so that was in my head a little bit, but I just believed in my work ethic. I worked hard this whole season. I just believe that no one works as hard as me, and when I’m out there I am so confident. There was not a doubt in my mind that I was going to (win).”
Two first-period stall warnings provided an early lead for Fry, who won 4-2.
“I’m always doing conditioning to get my gas up, so in that first period my main goal was just to get him tired, gassed out for the second and third period to get that W.”
Decatur tied the score at 2-2 on a takedown with 45 seconds left in the second period, but Fry escaped seconds later, then rode out the third period to add a riding-time point for the final margin.
PRECIN WINS AGAIN
North Central’s Robbie Precin completed an undefeated season by beating York’s Dalton Rohrbaugh 3-1 to win his second consecutive title at 133 pounds.
“I’m feeling good now that I’m a multiple time national champ,” said Precin, who improved to 35-0. “It’s surreal.
“There was not as much pressure (as last year), I’ll say that,” Precin said. “Last year I got my national title out of the way. I always wanted to be on top. In middle school and high school I always struggled to get on top. In college I finally did it, and it felt like I had no pressure – not as much pressure – this year because I already got it and nobody can take it away from me.”
Trailing 1-0, Precin scored a decisive takedown with 17 seconds left in the second period.
“I just felt like it was there,” he said. “Once the opening is there … I took it. I don’t have much to say about that. I just went for it.”
A senior, Precin said he could return for one more year but didn’t know if he would.
SHINHOSTER REPEATS AT 184
It isn’t easy to improve upon the feeling of winning a first national title, but that’s what Jaritt Shinhoster of Wisconsin-Whitewater did with his 9-2 win against Loras’ Shane Liegel in the title matchup of top seeds at 184 pounds.
“Way better, especially now since my career is over; I’m done competing,” Shinhoster (33-2) said. “Not only did I finish with a win, but I finished with a natty title, so it feels amazing.”
He was happy it came against Liegel (34-2), who handed him his only Division III loss early in the season, a loss he avenged later.
“Honestly, for a wrestler, I respect him, but as a person, I hate him and I just want to beat him,” Shinhoster said. “I can’t ask for a more perfect site to finish this rivalry.”
Shinhoster built an 8-0 lead, highlighted by a first-period takedown and a second-period near fall to build an insurmountable lead.
“In the last two matches he kept it really close because he was more defensive, but I guess this time he was more aggressive, and that was what his downfall was.
WABASH’S HELDT TAKES FINAL STEP
Jack Heldt of Wabash struck early and held off Coe’s Kaleb Reeves to win the heavyweight title 5-2.
The win came a year after he was unable to get the job done in the title bout with the team championship on the line.
“There’s not a feeling in the world to describe it,” Heldt (40-0) said. “I’m on top of the world right now, super ecstatic. For 365 days in the making to sit on that loss and think about it, so to come here and get the job done means a lot to me.”
Heldt built a 4-0 lead in the first period with a takedown at about the halfway point and a two-point near fall later.
“I just wanted to be the aggressor in the beginning, definitely score first, and I was just trying to wrestle smart there at the end and not overextend myself and wrestle a smart match, and it worked out for me.”
STUHL GIVES FIRST-PLACE AUGGIES A CHAMPION
Augsburg won the team title even though it had only two four seeds at the top of its lineup, so perhaps it was fitting that unseeded Sam Stuhl was the Auggies’ lone champion.
“It just feels incredible,” he said. “I don’t know if there are words to describe it.”
Stuhl (37-5) beat another unseeded finalist, Wheaton’s Ethan Harsted, to win the title at 141 pounds, 5-1. Harsted had beaten Stuhl in the Upper Midwest Regional semifinals.
“I don’t think the seeds had anything to do with it,” Stuhl said. “Everybody from Augsburg, we come in here and expect where I am today; that’s our goal.”
Stuhl, who said he heard the team clinched the title while he was taking a nap during the morning session, scored a two-point near fall after a first-period takedown to build a 4-0 lead.
A PERFECT FINISH FOR HERTEL
Nolan Hertel dampened Augsburg’s celebration a bit when he edged the Auggies’ Tyler Shilson 6-5 in the overtime tiebreaker.
“I knew it was going to be a one- or two-point match,” Hertel (36-2) said after wrestling Shilson (30-5) for the fourth time this year. “It usually goes about the same way each time, the first takedown, the guys who gets the first takedown usually wins, and I knew once I got that takedown I had the confidence I needed.”
That takedown came with 1:28 left in the first period. A penalty point for an illegal hold and an escape increased the lead to 401 in the second period, but takedowns by Shilson in the second and third periods put him on top before Hertel escaped to tie the match and force overtime.
Neither wrestler scored in sudden victory, then Shilson was called for stalling twice during his ride in the tiebreakers, with the penalty point making the difference when each rode out his opponent.
“It’s the drop-down rule; it’s a five-second count,” Hertel said of the difference-maker.
“This season it’s kind of been a lot of battles with him, so I think that match right there was a perfect ending to a perfect season.
KNIGHTS RALLY BEHIND TWO CHAMPS TO TAKE 2ND
After seeing both its top seeds settle for sixth place in Saturday’s first round, Wartburg finished the tournament strong, getting championships from second seeds Zane Mulder at 174 and Massoma Endene at 197 pounds.
“I don’t think it was a bad weekend; I think it’s just the national tournament, and everyone came with their ‘A’ game. Maybe we came up a little bit shorter, but everyone came to wrestle.”
The wins pushed the Knights ahead of North Central and Baldwin Wallace into second place with 66.5 points.
Mulder collapsed to his back then rose and enjoyed the cheers of the crowd after beating Jared Stricker of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 7-5.
“That’s been bottled up inside me for 17 years,” Mulder (26-1) said. “I’ve dreamt of this moment since I was a little kid and started being up on a big stage. That meant everything to me.
Mulder, whose long loss came against former Wartburg wrestler Mike Ross of Johnson & Wales, who was the top seed but suffered an injury in his first match and had to exit the tournament.
Stricker (41-3) scored an opening takedown, then went up 5-3 on a reversal in the second period. Mulder took his first lead, 6-5, on a takedown with 25 seconds left in the second period, then increased it to 705 with an escape in the third period.
“That’s smart wrestling,” Mulder said of protecting his lead. “When you’re up two with a minute left, maybe you don’t want to take as many shots. You might take something sloppy. I’m kind of a gamer when it comes to wrestling. If I have the lead, I usually hold on to that.”
Endene (27-1) put on an explosive offensive display early in a 10-6 win over top-seeded Coy Spooner of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Endene used a takedown and near fall to go ahead 4-0 in the first minute of the match, then took Spooner down to his back with a blast double-leg for an 8-1 lead later in the period.
“That’s just my style; I come out and try to score big points,” Endene said. “It’s just the most effective, especially at my weight class, you come out and score points. You’re used to 197-pounders have 2-1 matches, 3-1 matches, and that’s just not my style.”
Endene also knew he might have trouble on the bottom against the much taller Spooner.
“They (tall wrestlers) know they’re good on top, ride legs; that’s the challenges I faced,” he said,
At Roanoke, Va., March 10-11
1st Place Match - Joziah Fry (Johnson & Wales - Rhode Island)) 43-0, Fr. over Jacob Decatur (Baldwin Wallace) 7-1, So. (Dec 4-2
3rd Place Match - Christian Guzman (North Central College) 32-5, Fr. over Jake Craig (University Of Southern Maine) 6-3, Fr. (MD 10-1)
5th Place Match - Zac Blasioli (Millikin University) 8-3, Jr. over Mason Barrett (Averett University) 28-7, So. (MD 9-0)
7th Place Match - Brady Koontz (University Of Dubuque) 17-3, Sr. over Joey Lamparelli (Muhlenberg College) 30-10, Jr. (Dec 7-2)
1st Place Match - Robbie Precin (North Central College) 35-0, Sr. over Dalton Rohrbaugh (York College - Pennsylvania) 25-4, Jr. (Dec 3-1)
3rd Place Match - Tyler Fleetwood (University Of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) 35-6, Jr. over Jaden Hinton (Baldwin Wallace University) 6-3, Jr. (Dec 4-2)
5th Place Match - Dylan Koontz (University Of Dubuque) 15-4, Sr. over Ty Bisek (Concordia-Moorhead) 33-5, So. (Fall 1:24)
7th Place Match - Luke Kowolski (Gettysburg College) 21-6, Jr. over Chase Randall (U.S. Coast Guard Academy) 6-4, So. (TF-1.5 3:12 (18-0))
1st Place Match - Sam Stuhl (Augsburg University) 37-5, RS Jr. over Ethan Harsted (Wheaton College - Illinois) 7-2, RS Fr. (Dec 5-1)
3rd Place Match - Jacob Reed (Ohio Northern University) 8-1, So. over Domenic Difrancescantonio (The College Of New Jersey) 17-5, Sr. (Fall 3:40)
5th Place Match - Kyle Slendorn (Stevens Institute Of Technology) 32-5, RS Sr. over Zayren Terukina (Wartburg College) 26-4, Sr. (Fall 5:56)
7th Place Match - James Rodriguez (Castleton University) 44-5, RS So. over Josh Wilson (Greensboro College) 42-6, So. (Dec 5-2)
1st Place Match - Michael Petrella (Baldwin Wallace) 8-0, Jr. over Javen Estrada (North Central College) 25-5, So. (Dec 10-4)
3rd Place Match - Hayden Brown (Johnson & Wales - Rhode Island)) 30-2, Sr. over Hunter Gutierrez (Stevens Institute Of Technology) 26-7, Sr. (Dec 6-1)
5th Place Match - Chase Sumner (Ohio Northern University) 7-3, Sr. over Thomas Monn (McDaniel College) 7-3, Fr. (Fall 0:57)
7th Place Match - Chase Parrott (Springfield College) 29-6, Sr. over Charlie Stuhl (Augsburg University) 31-7, RS So. (Dec 5-3)
1st Place Match - Nolan Hertel (University Of Wisconsin-La Crosse) 36-2, Sr. over Tyler Shilson (Augsburg University) 30-5, RS Sr. (TB-1 6-5)
3rd Place Match - Jake Deguire (Springfield College) 37-6, So. over Zeke Smith (Loras College) 17-3, RS Jr. (Fall 5:16)
5th Place Match - Ryan Luth (Washington And Lee University) 18-3, Sr. over David Hollingsworth (Wartburg College) 15-6, Sr. (Dec 4-3)
7th Place Match - Peter Kane (Williams College) 37-6, Fr. over Ryan Smith (Stevens Institute Of Technology) 24-9, Fr. (Fall 2:39)
1st Place Match - Nathan Lackman (Rhode Island College) 8-0, Sr. over Matt Lackman (Alvernia University) 7-1, So. (SV-1 3-1)
3rd Place Match - Noah Leisgang (University Of Wisconsin-La Crosse) 27-3, Jr. over Nicholas Sacco (The College Of New Jersey) 26-5, So. (Dec 3-2)
5th Place Match - Cooper Willis (Augsburg University) 32-9, Fr. over Cooper Pontelandolfo (New York University) 33-8, So. (Dec 3-0)
7th Place Match - Nathan Fuller (Wartburg College) 25-4, RS Fr. over Jordan Hardrick (Ohio Northern University) 6-3, RS Sr. (Dec 3-1)
1st Place Match - Zane Mulder (Wartburg College) 26-1, RS Jr. over Jared Stricker (University Of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) 41-3, So. (Dec 7-5)
3rd Place Match - Seth Brossard (University Of Wisconsin-La Crosse) 30-4, Sr. over Charlie Grygas (Oswego State) 32-3, RS Jr. (Dec 7-3)
5th Place Match - Stefan Major (Stevens Institute Of Technology) 26-7, Sr. over LJ Richardson (Coe College) 20-9, So. (Dec 8-5)
7th Place Match - Seth Goetzinger (Augsburg University) 28-9, So. over Anson Dewar (Muhlenberg College) 32-5, So. (M. For.)
1st Place Match - Jaritt Shinhoster (University Of Wisconsin-Whitewater) 33-2, RS Fr. over Shane Liegel (Loras College) 34-2, Sr. (Dec 9-2)
3rd Place Match - Donovan Corn (Luther College) 33-8, Sr. over Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann (Augsburg University) 31-8, RS Jr. (Dec 7-1)
5th Place Match - David McCullough (U.S. Coast Guard Academy) 9-2, Sr. over Colby Giroux (Rochester Institute Of Technology) 34-7, RS Jr. (Dec 9-4)
7th Place Match - Charles Baczek (Wabash College) 23-4, So. over Mahlic Sallah (Roanoke College) 29-5, RS Sr. (MD 8-0)
1st Place Match - Massoma Endene (Wartburg College) 27-1, So. over Coy Spooner (U.S. Coast Guard Academy) 7-1, Jr. (Dec 10-6)
3rd Place Match - Chibueze Chukwuezi (Ithaca College) 9-1, Sr. over Dylan Harr (Johnson & Wales University (Rhode Island)) 35-10, So. (Dec 5-1)
5th Place Match - Doug Byrne (Baldwin Wallace University) 8-2, Sr. over Tyler Hannah (University Of Wisconsin-Platteville) 30-8, So. (Dec 4-2)
7th Place Match - Beau Yineman (University Of Wisconsin-Oshkosh) 30-5, Sr. over Josh Harkless (Rochester Institute Of Technology) 30-8, So. (Dec 5-4)
1st Place Match
3rd Place Match - Tyler Kim (Augsburg University) 38-2, RS Jr. over Darryl Aiello (University Of Dubuque) 12-7, Sr. (Fall 1:50)
5th Place Match - Donovan King (Olivet College) 29-5, RS So. over Jake Peavey (University Of Southern Maine) 7-3, Sr. (Dec 9-2)
7th Place Match - Carl DiGiorgio (U.S. Coast Guard Academy) 7-3, Fr. over Michael Douglas (University Of Wisconsin-La Crosse) 28-11, So. (Dec 7-3)
1 Augsburg University 101.0
2 Wartburg College 66.5
3 Baldwin Wallace University 66.0
4 North Central College 63.5
5 University Of Wisconsin-La Crosse 61.0
6 Johnson & Wales University (Rhode Island) 52.0
7 Stevens Institute Of Technology 49.5
8 University Of Dubuque 41.5
9 U.S. Coast Guard Academy 40.5
10 Wabash College 35.5
11 University Of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 33.0
12 Coe College 32.0
13 Ohio Northern University 31.5
14 Springfield College 30.0
15 Loras College 28.5
16 The College Of New Jersey 27.5
17 University Of Wisconsin-Whitewater 24.0
18 University Of Southern Maine 21.0
19 Rhode Island College 20.0
20 Alvernia University 17.0
(of 70 teams)