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WIN’s Top 10 College Stories of 2012-13

Who and what created the greatest moments the past 12 months in college wrestling?

In this week’s WIN eNews, WIN is, in reverse order, announcing moments 6 to 10. The Top 5 moments will be announced in WIN’s May 22 eNews.

 

Tyrell Fortune (right) of Grand Canyon won a NCAA Division II championship one year after the native of Oregon won two NJCAA titles.

Tyrell Fortune (right) of Grand Canyon won a NCAA Division II championship one year after the native of Oregon won two NJCAA titles.

10. Grand Canyon’s Tyrell Fortune named Div. II Wrestler of the Year With the 2013 NCAA Division II Nationals being held in a state lacking a college wrestling program, Alabama. The wrestling event was part of the NCAA’s Division II Winter Sports Festival in Birmingham, March 8-9. Possibly the most notable match of the tourney, Grand Canyon’s heavyweight Tyrell Fortune defeated two-time champion Matt Meuleners of Northern State in the finals.

But that victory — which capped off a season that saw the junior win 37 of 38 matches and 20 by fall — helped the native of Portland, Ore., and two-time NJCAA champion from Clackamas Community College earn the highest honor presented by the National Wrestling Coaches Association as the Division II Wrestler of the Year.

Fortune is the sixth recipient of the award, voted on by eight coaches from around the country. The Region IV representative edged St. Cloud State senior and Region III Wrestler of the Year Shamus O’Grady by one point for the top honor.

9. College wrestling comes to Madison Square Garden Like many college sports in this country, wrestling has strong roots in the East … considering the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association’s post-season tournament is older than the NCAA’s annual event.image001

And one of the most notable arenas in the East is New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Yet, the famous facility, just south of Times Square, had never hosted a college event … until Dec. 16, when several of the nation’s top schools competed in the “Grapple at the Garden.”

“It’s the world’s greatest arena in the world’s greatest city,” said McCoy, the head coach at Maryland and a NYC native who competed in the Garden in the 2003 Worlds as a freestyle heavyweight. He hopes MSG will host a future NCAA tournament. “It would be great for the sport.”

Among the more notable dual matches of top teams, Oklahoma State defeated Cornell, 21-16.

“What a great vibe to be wrestling here,” said OSU’s Jordan Oliver, who first earned prep All-American honors at Easton, Pa., before travelling to Stillwater, Okla. “I grew up about an hour away and have always known of the great events that happened here, so to get the chance to wrestle here is great and I am taking full advantage of this opportunity.”

midlands508. Illinois edges Virginia Tech in 50th Midlands The legendary tournament celebrated a half-century of existence in Evanston, Ill., on Dec. 29-30 … and Illinois and Virginia Tech made sure it would be memorable as the Illini topped the Hokies by just a two-point margin (99.5-97.5) in the final standings.

Oddly, Illinois did not feature a champion, but did see five wrestlers earn placements in the longest-running regular-season tournament. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, saw two wrestlers, Jarrod Garnett at 125 and Nick Brascetta at 149, win individual titles with Garnett’s win coming in sudden victory over eventual NCAA champion Jesse Delgado.

7. Wartburg’s Jim Miller retires with tenth NCAA title The NCAA Division III school from Waverly, Iowa, made sure their retiring coach went out on top, literally. Knight wrestlers carried coach Jim Miller on their shoulders to receive the tenth team trophy earned by his wrestlers since he took over the program in 1991.

Wartburg coach Jim Miller was all smiles as he hoisted the 2013 NCAA Division III team trophy after the 59-year-old coach was hoisted on the shoulders of his final Wartburg team.

Wartburg coach Jim Miller was all smiles as he hoisted the 2013 NCAA Division III team trophy after the 59-year-old coach was hoisted on the shoulders of his final Wartburg team.

“I didn’t know until right then (that his team was planning that),” said Miller, whose final team out-distanced second-place Elmhurst (Ill.) by 21 points. “I already had one hip replaced. I was worried about the other one.”

But when it came to winning this coveted tenth championship — pulling within one of Augsburg’s Division III record of 11 titles — there was nothing to worry about for Miller and his ten wrestlers who collected seven All-American honors while completing a third straight team title and fifth of the last six years.

“I’m elated they get a chance to know what it feels like to win another national championship,” said Miller, who pointed to the numerous fans dressed in orange who helped make up the 2,398 fans who were in attendance at the final session of this year’s tournament. “I’m elated for our fans, our college and program as a whole. I have a great group of young men. I’m really proud to be associated with them.”

 

PItt's Matt Wilps (left) eventually pinned Penn State's Quentin Wright during the 2012 NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington DC

PItt’s Matt Wilps (left) eventually pinned Penn State’s Quentin Wright during the 2012 NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington DC

6. NWCA All-Star Classic packs house in D.C.The 47th annual National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic packed the gymnasium in American University’s Bender Arena, Nov. 3, in Washington D.C … primarily because NCAA champions Kyle Dake of Cornell and David Taylor of Penn State agreed to face each other in an exhibition.

And while the final results did not affect the wrestlers’ records or NCAA seeding, Dake did win in a 2-1 tiebreaker in their 165-pound match. Meanwhile, two eventual NCAA champions lost that night: 125-pound Jesse Delgado (Illinois) who lost to Penn State’s Nico Megaludis, 4-3; and 197-pound Quentin Wright (Penn State), who was pinned by Pitt’s Matt Wilps with ten seconds left in the match.

 

The top five stories in college wrestling will be announced in next week’s WIN E News.

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