On March 15 to 16, wrestling (12-11) sent three grapplers to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the Div. III NCAA Championships. Overall, Williams finished 24th with 15 points, and Wartburg took home top honors with 103 points.
Captain Ces Antista ’13, who came into the tournament 29-4, faced off against Kyle Windquist of Luther in the 141-lb weight class. Antista easily dismissed him, winning by a margin of 10-1. In the evening session, his opponent, Adam Sheley of University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, was too tough and defeated Antista in a close 7-3 matchup, putting Antista in the wrestleback bracket. He won a close 4-2 decision against Jordan Dyer of Brockport State before a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to two seed Ryan Earley of Elmhurst. However, Antista’s performance allowed him to lock up seventh place and a place on the All-America podium.
“Ces found himself down by a point with 10 seconds to go in the match that would determine whether he would finish as an All-American,” Head Coach Scott Honecker said. “Ces dug deep and gutted out a takedown in one of the most amazing displays of will I have witnessed in my coaching career. Ces will go down as one of the finest wrestlers Williams has ever known.”
Jorge Lopez ’16, the nine seed in the 149-lb weight class, was pinned at the 2:07 mark by eighth-seeded Jacob Long of Concordia-Moorhead in his first-ever NCAA Championships. In the wrestleback competition, Lopez defeated Ben Stroebel of University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point in the first-round match, conquered Chris Stevermer of St. John’s in his second-round bout and outlasted Luke Lohr from Waynesburg in the third round. In the Saturday morning session, he fell just short, losing to Robert Diema of Cortland. His work earned him All-American honors and sixth place.
Coming into the tournament 20-4, heavyweight Tom Foote ’13 won a close 3-2 matchup against John Wilkinson from Brockport State. However, Foote was no match for Augsburg’s top-seeded Chad Johnson, who defeated him handily 10-3. In the wrestleback consolation competition, Foote lost to Jeremy Rieth of Elizabethtown in the second round, ending his tournament run.
“The performance of our guys out at Nationals was the culmination of what has been a dramatic turnaround for the wrestling program,” Honecker said.
With the conclusion of their season, the men graduate five seniors: Mir Henglin ’13, Scott Sanderson ’13, Kaison Tanabe ’13, Antista and Foote.