Notre Dame wins first NAIA national title in wrestling

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Notre Dame (Ohio) closed out its dominating run through the 53rd Annual NAIA Wrestling National Championships by winning the program's first-ever team title with 179.5 points on Saturday at Abe Lemons Arena on the campus of Oklahoma City University. Southern Oregon took runner-up honors for the second straight year with 120 points, followed by Great Falls (Mont.) in third at 118.5 points, Missouri Valley in fourth with 110.5 points and McKendree (Ill.) rounded out the top five with 109 points.

"We had a great year," Notre Dame head coach Frank Ramano said. "This program was started only 3 years ago and to ascend to the top of the NAIA in such a short amount of time…I find it so amazing. I didn't think it would happen this fast. We have a great coaching staff and have been building since we won the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in January."

The Falcons, who previously had two national champions, sent four wrestlers into the finals and emerged with three titlists to run the program's total to five. Notre Dame finished the event with 10 All-Americans and Ramano was named NAIA Wrestling National Coach of the Year for his team's accomplishments.

"When you enter the National Championships, you never know what is going to happen," Ramano said. "Our guys are in great shape and we wrestled really well. I thought we were competitive in all our matches and we wrestled really well on our feet. That's what wins matches, performing on your feet, and our guys worked hard and did that. I've been in wrestling for 50 years and to come out of retirement to start this program and now win a national title, it's really special. It is something that is rare and unique in collegiate athletics."

Campbellsville's (Ky.) Tommy Pretty put on an offensive show en route to a 14-3 major decision over Myles Mazurkiewicz of Great Falls (Mont.) to take the 133-pound title. Pretty, who is just the second national champion for Campbellsville, opened up with a 9-3 lead in the first period scoring a two and a three-point nearfall.

The matchup between Southern Oregon's Barry Johnson and Kyle Wirkuty at 141 pounds marked only the ninth time in the event's 53-year history that wrestlers from the same school have gone head-to-head for an individual championship. Familiarity set up a tight match, with regulation ending in a 4-4 tie. Wrestling on the edge of the mat in sudden victory, Johnson took down Wirkuty to clinch a 6-4 decision and the championship.

Senior Aaron Winning capped off his McKendree career by capturing his second consecutive 165-pound crown and did so in dominating fashion with a 9-0 major decision of Lindenwood's (Mo.) Chris Chionuma. The three-time All-American opened with a takedown and three-point nearfall in the first period and tacked on another takedown in the third period. Winning is the only wrestler in the Bearcat program's history to win a pair of national titles.

Grand View's (Iowa) Glenn Rhees used a single-leg takedown on the edge of the mat to take a 3-1 decision in sudden victory at 174 pounds. Neither wrestler was able to generate any offensive scoring during regulation, but each tallied an escape at the beginning of the second and third periods, respectively, to deadlock the match at 1-1 and force an additional 60 seconds of action. Rhees is the second national champion in Vikings' two-year program history.

Sudden victory was again needed in the night's final match, but returning national champ Arjan Bhullar of Simon Fraser (B.C.)'s countermove of Notre Dame's Orlando Scales lifted the senior to his second straight title via a 3-1 decision. After a scoreless first period, Scales escaped from Bhullar, and Bhullar evened the score in the third period 1-1 with an escape of his own. Wrestling towards the edge of the mat, Scales took a shot on Bhullar, which he countered on with a single leg and converted to a double for the two points. With the win, Bhullar gave the Clan their 40th individual championship, which is tops in the NAIA.

For his efforts, Bhullar was named Most Outstanding Wrestler. Southern Oregon's Mitchell Lofstedt, who took top-honors at 125 pounds was named NWCA/NAIA National Wrestler of the Year.

Notre Dame's Ashtin Primus recorded the most pins in the least amount of time during the course of the championship, sticking five opponents in 4:57. His quickest fall came in 37 seconds.

Morningside (Iowa) received the Buffalo Funds "5-Star" Champion of Character Team Award.

Championship Results
125 Mitchell Lofstedt, Southern Oregon dec. Chauncey Phillips, California Baptist, 5-2
133 Tommy Pretty, Campbellsville (Ky.) maj. dec. Myles Mazurkiewicz, Great Falls (Mont.), 14-3
141 Barry Johnson, Southern Oregon dec. Kyle Wirkuty Southern Oregon, 6-4 (SV)
149 Jeffrey Pelton, Notre Dame (Ohio) dec. Byron Kuylen, Great Falls (Mont.), 7-5
157 Thomas Straugh, Notre Dame (Ohio) dec. James Casadaban, Cumberland (Tenn.), 11-7
165 Aaron Winning, McKendree (Ill.) maj. dec. Chris Chionuma, Lindenwood (Mo.), 9-0
174 Glenn Rhees, Grand View (Iowa) dec. Enock Francois, California Baptist, 3-1 (SV)
184 Chad Williams, Missouri Valley dec. Mark Peiffer, Dana (Neb.), 7-6
197 Derek Foore, Notre Dame (Ohio) dec. Jake Kallestad, Dickinson State (N.D.), 3-1
HWT Arjan Bhullar, Simon Fraser (B.C.) dec. Orlando Scales, Notre Dame (Ohio), 4-2 (SV)

2010 All-Americans
125 pounds Mitchell Lofstedt, Southern Oregon; Chauncey Phillips, California Baptist; Matt Chustz, William Penn (Iowa); Angel Olea, Dickinson State (N.D.) Tyler Savage, Notre Dame (Ohio); Larone Madison, Cumberlands (Ky.)

133 pounds Tommy Pretty, Campbellsville (Ky.); Myles Mazurkiewicz, Great Falls (Mont.); Colin Pierce, Missouri Valley; Brian Jacob, Southern Oregon; Anton Prater, Missouri Baptist; Blake Hunter, Dickinson State (N.D.)

141 pounds Barry Johnson, Southern Oregon; Kyle Wirkuty Southern Oregon; Mikey Davis, Cumberland (Tenn.); Christian Martinez, Menlo (Calif.); Kyle Williams, McKendree (Ill.); Adam Koballa, Notre Dame (Ohio)

149 pounds Jeffrey Pelton, Notre Dame (Ohio); Byron Kuylen, Great Falls (Mont.); Ashtin Primus, Notre Dame (Ohio); Ryan Jahn, McKendree (Ill.); Benjamin Garcia, California Baptist; Sam Schmitz, Lindenwood (Mo.)

157 pounds Thomas Straugh, Notre Dame (Ohio); James Casadaban, Cumberland (Tenn.); Tyler Chang, Embry-Riddle (Ariz.); Joe Cornejo, Missouri Valley; Nik Turner, Oklahoma City; Dustin Center, Cumberlands (Ky.)

165 pounds Aaron Winning, McKendree (Ill.); Chris Chionuma, Lindenwood (Mo.); Joe Sievert, Morningside (Iowa); Bulla Tuzon, Dana (Neb.); Brad Lower, Grand View (Iowa); Lamar Reed, California Baptist

174 pounds Glenn Rhees, Grand View (Iowa); Enock Francois, California Baptist; Cody Butzer, Notre Dame (Ohio); Sameron Scrempp, Dickinson State (N.D.); Jameon Rush, Hastings (Neb.); Josh Bryant, McKendree (Ill.)

184 pounds Chad Williams, Missouri Valley; Mark Peiffer, Dana (Neb.); Michael French, Great Falls (Mont.); Evan Hinebauch, Montana State-Northern; Brett Owen, Dickinson State (N.D.); Alex Denman, Notre Dame (Ohio)

197 pounds Derek Foore, Notre Dame (Ohio); Jake Kallestad, Dickinson State (N.D.); Alex Calvi, Great Falls (Mont.); Nic Leither, Northwestern (Iowa); Andrew Sanchez, McKendree (Ill.); Evan Mattingly, Montana State-Northern

HWT Arjan Bhullar, Simon Fraser (B.C.); Orlando Scales, Notre Dame (Ohio); Frank Lopez, Dickinson State (N.D.); Tyler Porras, Lindenwood (Mo.); John Bates, Southern Oregon; Chas Maloch, McKendree (Ill.)

Honorable Mention
125 pounds Jason Moorhouse, Menlo (Calif.); Zach Meury, Missouri Baptist
133 pounds Josh Rogers, Briar Cliff (Iowa); Joseph Michel, Jamestown (N.D.)
141 pounds Timothy Mitchem, Cumberlands (Ky.); Eric Graham, Missouri Valley
149 pounds Trace Billet, Embry Riddle (Ariz.); Levi Price, Northwestern (Iowa)
157 pounds Ross Mosher, Great Falls (Mont.); Tommie Norton-Hooper, Southern Oregon
165 pounds David Dwyer, McKendree (Ill.); Michale Hader, Great Falls (Mont.)
174 pounds Jon Bittenger, Notre Dame (Ohio); Shane Bennett, Dickinson State (N.D.)
184 pounds Jesse Alter, Missouri Valley; Jordaryl Logan, Grand View (Iowa)
197 pounds Charlie Gibbs, Missouri Valley; Ronald Lee, Southern Oregon
HWT Corey Johnson, Oklahoma City; Jeremy Colbert, Bacone (Okla.)

Most Outstanding Wrestler: Arjan Bhullar, Simon Fraser (B.C.)
NWCA/NAIA National Wrestler of the Year: Mitchell Lofstedt, Southern Oregon
NAIA Wrestling National Coach of the Year: Frank Ramano, Notre Dame (Ohio)
Most Pins in Least Amount of Time: Ashtin Primus, Notre Dame (Ohio) five pins in 4:57, quickest in 37 seconds
Buffalo Funds "5-Star" Champion of Character Team Award: Morningside College (Iowa)


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