Thompson pin helps Grand View defend NAIA title

Heavyweight Eric Thompson has seen his share of ups and downs since leaving Waverly-Shell Rock (Iowa) High School four years ago.

But when it came to the recent Cliff Keen NWCA National Duals NAIA tournament, the junior did more than go undefeated in Springfield, Ill., where he scored bonus points for the top-ranked NAIA school Grand View from Des Moines. His second pin of the two-day tournament, a 3:12 flattening of Southern Oregon’s Bubba Owens, helped his team overcome an 18-14 deficit to beat the No. 2 Raiders, 20-18, for the school’s second straight National Duals title.

Thompson, the nephew of former World medalist Tolly Thompson and originally a Division I signee to Iowa State, has found a happy home at Grand View. He won last March’s NAIA heavyweight championship when he pinned Brandon Gebhardt of Baker University. But Thompson also has not been perfect this season, when he lost a Jan. 4 dual against Morningside’s Tyler Kacmarynski and was ranked No. 3 in the Jan. 9 national rankings, trailing Gebhardt and Dickinson State’s Jose Lopez.

But Thompson may be once again moving up, especially after he pinned Lopez in Grand View’s quarterfinal win over Dickinson State. Thompson also earned technical falls when Grand View defeated Indiana Tech in the first round and in a semifinal win over Campbellsville.

For the record, Grand View defeated Indiana Tech, 33-3, Dickinson State, 39-8, and Campbellsville, 32-4, before meeting Southern Oregon in the final.

Southern Oregon, a past National Duals champion, also won three duals to reach the finals; beating in order Southern Oregon, 42-6, Baker, 34-11, and Great Falls, 23-19. In beating the Montana school in the semifinals, the Raiders trailed 13-10 before winning three straight matches at 174, 184 and 197 to clinch the team victory when 197-pound Charles Johnson pinned Great Falls’ Dylan Lemery in 2:59.



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