UIU wrestlers hope for hardware at Nationals
By Jerry Wadian
Upper Iowa hopes to bring home another trophy for a top-four finish in a DII National Wrestling Tournament this year. The Peacocks have brought home two such trophies in the last three years. The 2013 National Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
“Wrestling is an individual sport,” noted UIU head coach Heath Grimm. “However, in the end, it’s all about team hardware; that’s what everyone wants.”
UIU has six wrestlers in the hunt. NSIC champion St. Cloud State has nine, and teams like Nebraska-Kearney and Central Oklahoma will have large contingents at the tourney.
However, as Grimm pointed out, “The year we won third place, we only had four wrestlers in the competition. It’s all about how well the individuals perform.
So, chances for team success lie squarely on the shoulders of six wrestlers.
Each of the six placed in the top four in their respective weights at the Super Regional Sunday, Feb. 24, at Young Arena in Waterloo. Now, they face the top four grapplers from the other three Super Regionals in 16-man brackets. The top eight in each bracket earn All-American honors. However, to accomplish the feat they will have to win at least two matches against the best wrestlers in the nation.
Trevor Franklin (133, 14-5) will have the most eyes on him as he goes on a quest to become UIU’s only three-time national champion. The 133-pounder injured an ankle in the Super Regional, but hopes to be at full strength by tournament time. Franklin (14-5) faces Zachary Hale (21-5), who is very good when he is on top.
“All we need is Franklin to be healthy and to just be Trevor and score points,” Grimm stated.
Bryce Lumzy (157, 31-11) is the only Peacock without experience at the national meet. He faces Art Hobley (21-11).
Grimm said, “I like Bryce’s draw. Hobley is tough but hasn’t seen Bryce, who has some unique moves and can be tough on top, wrestle.”
Lumzy, like most of his Peacock teammates, has a nice ratio of wins by fall, which can add to team points.
Wade Gobin (165, 34-12) has the toughest draw by far of any of the UIU athletes, as he faces top-ranked Joey Davis (26-0).
Grimm noted, “Davis was the top recruit in the nation when he was a senior. However, Wade has been here before. He made it to the national tournament last year, and that was big for him. He’s been wrestling with confidence all year and believes that he belongs in the top eight again this year.”
Blake Sorenson (174, 32-11) earned a trip to the national tournament last year as a red-shirt freshman. He squares off against Travis Budke (19-12).
“Sorenson has wrestled well for two-straight years, and has a bit of an advantage in the opener as his opponent has not seen him wrestle before,” commented Grimm.
Mitch Schultz (184, 15-4) is a two-time All-American (fifth and sixth places) who has missed some time this season from a concussion. However, the Postville native is fully healthy in his match against Mitch Brown (31-9).
According to Grimm, “He faces a big kid who is pretty quick on his feet, but Mitch has been there, faced adversity, and knows how to adjust during a match.”
Carl Broghammer (197, 36-4) has been “The Hammer” for Upper Iowa during his junior season. An All-American in 2011 (third place), one of his losses this season was in OT to the second-ranked heavyweight in DII. His first opponent will be Znick Farrell (24-11).
Grimm explained, “Last year he was upset by a kid he beat before and did not make it to nationals last year; that has really made him a stronger, better wrestler. He’s been dominant throughout this season.”
UIU goes into the weekend tourney ranked seventh in DII.
“Not winning a trophy last year is added motivation this year,” stated Grimm. The Peacock head man and his six wrestlers all believe that they can leap-frog some teams and come home with one of the coveted four team trophies.