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Four Southern Oregon wrestlers win national titles

3/4/2013

DES MOINES -- Four Raiders claimed individual titles and nine earned All-American honors as the second-ranked Southern Oregon wrestling team fell six points shy of a team title at the 2013 NAIA National Championships.

Southern Oregon totaled153 points to finish as the national runner-up for the second straight year and fourth time in the past five years. Tournament host Grand View won its second consecutive national title with 159 points. The Vikings did not clinch the outright title until the final bout of the weekend, when Grand View's Eric Thompson won the heavyweight final to break a 153-153 tie atop the team leaderboard.

Mitchell Lofstedt (Roseburg, Ore./Roseburg) pinned his way to his third national title and yet another SOU record to close out his career. Lofstedt pinned all five of his opponents on the weekend in a total time of 9:11to earn Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament honors for the second straight year. He narrowly missed out on his second consecutive Gorriaran Award - given to the wrestler with the most pins in the least amount of time - as teammate Taylor Johnson (Redmond, Ore./Redmond) finished with five pins in a total time of 6:50 to earn the honor.

Head coach Mike Ritchey was named NAIA Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. He also received the honor in 2001 and 2009.

Lofstedt topped the 125-pound rankings all year and became the 25th individual in the 56-year history of the NAIA Tournament to win three titles. He is the first 125-pounder to achieve the feat, along with the first three-time champion at SOU and the fifth four-time All-American. He also won national titles in 2010 and 2012 and finished second as a freshman in 2009.

Lofstedt concludes his final season with a 37-1 overall record and 27 pins. His .974 season win percentage is the highest in SOU history, and his 27 pins broke his own school record of 26 set last season. He also holds program records for career victories (156), career win percentage (.891), career pins (86) and 30-win seasons (4).

Brock Gutches (Central Point, Ore./Crater) also retained his wire-to-wire top ranking in the national championships, claiming his second consecutive title at 174 lbs. Gutches went 4-0 on the weekend with a pair of pins and two decisions, taking down seventh-ranked Jose Alvarez of Wayland Baptist 5-2 in the final. With two titles in his first two years of eligibility, Gutches will have two more years to try become the 26th three-time NAIA champion.

After falling in the final last season, Jimmy Eggemeyer (Kodiak, Alaska/Kodiak) closed out his SOU career on top with a championship in the 149-pound bracket. Eggemeyer eked out three close wins in four matches this weekend, decisioning sixth-ranked Nick Haugen 2-1 in his first matchup and defeating eight-ranked Sean Elkins 6-2 in the quarterfinals. He earned a 15-6 major decision victory over 10th-ranked Chase Burns in the semifinal and clinched the championship with a 3-2 win over third-ranked Isaiah Tatum on Saturday.

Prescott Garner (West Linn, Ore./West Linn) gave SOU a program-record four individual titlists, going 5-0 with three major decisions, a technical fall and a pin. The third-ranked Raider pinned No. 2 Angel Garcia in 1:14 in the semifinal and claimed a 16-7 major decision victory over top-ranked Cameron Neiss to reclaim the top spot that he held in half the rankings this season.

Along with Southern Oregon's four individual champions, five other Raiders earned All-American honors. Third-ranked Taylor Johnson (Redmond, Ore./Redmond) concluded the weekend with five pins and a 5-2 record, including a 1:43 pin in the fifth-place match to claim a fifth-place finish. Ninth-ranked Miguel Baltazar (Culver, Ore./Culver) finished 4-2 at the national tournament to place sixth in the 133-pound bracket after dropping a major decision in the fifth-place match. Derek Mestrovich (Boise, Idaho/Skyview) earned a 3-1 decision victory to claim seventh place at 165 lbs. and Jacob Abrams (The Dalles, Ore./The Dalles-Wahtonka) won the seventh-place match in the 184-lb. bracket. Dalton Urrutia (Lebanon, Ore./Lebanon) dropped a 9-2 decision in the 157-lb. seventh-place match to finish eighth.

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