Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day one at DIIIs

I have been cursed with occasional bouts of vertigo for the past couple of years. Most of the time you take an Antivert and sit quietly for a few minutes and it passes. Every once in a while it hits you really hard and you have to go to the hospital emergency room for a while. This morning was one of those latter occurrences so I missed the first session of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships.

There were a couple of major upsets in the first round: Coe’s Bryon Grothus over #1 seed, Jerome Owens, of Johnson and Wales and John Carroll’ s Ben Adams topping returning champion, Romeo Djoumessi, from Wartburg.

Random thoughts from Session 2

The upsets continue.

Cornell College’s Nick Nothern upset Augsburg’s Travis Lang in the championship bracket last year. Lang went on to win the consolation re-match by fall. Tonight, Nothern once again upset Lang – this time in the championship quarter finals. Romeo Djoumessi was eliminated from the tournament in consolations. He made a couple of mental mistakes that cost him the match. Instead of getting down on himself or being angry at a borderline “fleeing the mat” call, he hugged and congratulated his opponent, congratulated the opposing coach and then hugged his own coach, Jim Miller. It was a show of class worthy of the young man.

Familiarity breeds overtime.

Coe’s Clayton Rush and Wartburg’s Mark Kist have wrestled five times this year. They now know each other so well that neither was able to generate any offense and Rush won 2-1 in the first tiebreak round.…fans.

Division III fans just seem to have more fun at Nationals than D! fans. Body-for-body I think the Luther fans are the loudest in the tournament. Did you notice all of the “Green Dragon” wrestling tee shirts and wonder for which college the Green Knights are the team name? The answer- none. Those folks are from Clayton Rush’s hometown, Aledo, IL. They travel en masse to watch Clayton wrestle.

The team race.

Wartburg closed the night with a slim lead of 64 to 61.5. Each team has 7 wrestlers remaining, but Wartburg has 6 in this morning’s semi-finals and Augsburg has 4. There are no head-to-head matchups from the two leading teams in the semis. UW La Crosse had an excellent evening and moved into third place and has 4 wrestlers in today’s semi-finals. Delaware Valley and Coe follow those three.


The coverage of the Division III championships is outstanding. Cedar Rapids Gazette wrestling writer KJ Pilcher is posting outstanding blogs in his Crossface Chronicles.
Wrestling 411 is providing live coverage from the US Cellular Center, including audio interviews of coaches and athletes.

“Your city smells real good.”

Any resident of Cedar Rapids recognizes the irony in that statement, but a fan from St Johns said that to me as we entered the arena today. It must have been Cap’n Crunch day at Quaker Oats. We truly hope that you’re enjoying every aspect of the tournament – including our fair city. Who’s been to Al’s Red Frog?

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