Rams Have Success at Nationals

Jim Nowak

Sports Editor

 

Alex Coolidge (14) and Trevor Engle (16) represented the Rams well at the 2013 DIII Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids on March 15-16. Engle finished one win shy of All-American status while Coolidge earned the All-American distinction and a national runner up finish at 197 pounds. Cornell finished 21st out of the 64 team field.

Engle saw himself in a tough position after the pairings were released. He opened the championships with a pigtail match-up, similar to a play-in game, against the number five seed Robert Dierna out of Cortland State. Engle could not find an answer to Dierna, dropping his opening match 21-9. Engle then went to the wrestleback bracket where he faced Daniel Mirman of John Carroll. Engle battled and was able to come away with the victory by a final score of 3-1. Engle was able to advance past Elroy Perkin out of UW-Whitewater in the second consolation round by a 9-6 decision. Engle’s run came to an end the following round with a 4-1 loss to number four seeded Emanual Ajagbe from Delaware Valley.

Coolidge, who had been dominant all season long, had an eventfully championships with many close calls along the way. In his first round match, Coolidge faced Nathan Schmitz, an All-American from Concordia-Moorhead. Coolidge would get the victory, but needed overtime and a tie-break session to get the 2-1 decision. Coolidge’s next match wouldn’t be any easier. Coolidge faced off against seventh seeded Darren Faber from Wheaton College in another close match. Once again, Coolidge needed an extra session to get the victory, scoring the winning takedown with 47 seconds left in the extra frame. In the national semi-final, Coolidge battled the number three seed Aaron Karns from Delaware Valley. For the third straight time, Coolidge needed all three periods and a little more securing his spot in the national championship match with a 3-1 decision in the first sudden victory period.

In his national championship match, Coolidge faced off against the four seed, Mike Benefiel from Elmhurst. Benefiel is a senior transfer who previously wrestled at division one power houses Northwestern and Oklahoma State, and was named an All-American while he was at Oklahoma State. From the onset, Benefiel’s DI experience was apparent. Coolidge never could mount an offensive, and fell to Benefiel in a 7-2 decision.

Wartburg (103 points) won the team title by a 21 point margin over Elmhurst. The Rams were 87 points behind in a tie for 21st with Coe.

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