Josh Gerke celebrates after winning the national title at 149 pounds (Photo/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)
CORALVILLE, Iowa -- After securing nine All-Americans on the opening day of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III National Championships, Coe College's wrestling team continued a historic weekend on Saturday at Xtream Arena.
The Kohawks' Alex Friddle, Brock Henderson and Josh Gerke topped the podium in their respective weight classes, giving Coe three NWCA national champions for the first time in program history. Coe had the most individual national champions of any team in the field as the A-R-C claimed 7-of-10 titles.
Friddle, Brock Henderson, and Gerke were joined by teammate Brady Henderson as national finalists after Saturday's first session, setting the stage for the finals. Third-seeded Friddle (125 pounds) opened the evening against Wartburg's Brady Kyner, the fourth-seed, in their second matchup of 2021. Much like the first tilt, the Morris, Ill.-native dispatched Kyner in a tight match, using a late takedown to claim national champion status, 6-3.
At 133 pounds, second-seeded Brock Henderson defeated top-seed Robbie Precin of North Central, 4-2. The North Linn prep did so in dramatic fashion, taking down Precin in overtime for a sudden victory and the Kohawks' second national title of the night.
Coe's dominance at the lighter weights continued at 149 pounds as Gerke edged out Wartburg's Brady Fritz with a takedown in the final seconds after a wild scramble between both wrestlers. After a coaches' challenge from the Knights was unsuccessful, Gerke notched the 4-2 victory and topped the podium as a national champion.
Brady Henderson had a solid two days at 157 pounds, advancing all the way to the national final. Henderson battled his opponent from Wartburg, David Hollingsworth, but was ultimately pinned at the 4:17 mark in the match.