The Notre Dame College wrestling team won the 2016-17 NCAA Division II Wrestling National Championship on Saturday evening as three individuals won titles.
NDC won the event with a team score of 103.5 as St. Cloud State finished second with a score of 67.
The Falcons continued their domination from day one as the team went 5-0 in the semifinals to be represented in half of the individual championship matches.
Ivan McClay, 125, started the day off with a close 7-6 victory, but dominated his championship match. McClay was on the attack right away in the first period of the 125 title match, locking up with Willie Bohince from Mercyhurst and putting him on his back after just 50 seconds. Bohince was able to avoid giving up back points in the first period, but McClay put him on his back again in the second period to earn four near fall points.
Bohince had two opportunities to take down McClay, but the officials ruled them out of bounds. Four of the seven points scored by Bohince were given to him as McClay let him up in the first period, was called for stalling twice, and surrendered a takedown with 13 seconds left in the third period.
McClay had several big moments in his match, but afterwards shed some light on what was going through his mind.
"[I was just thinking] please don't mess up," McClay said. "But it all worked out in the end, [Bohince is] a really good wrestler so kudos to him. It was a tough match all together."
At 149 pounds, Juwon Edmond earned a trip to the finals with a close 8-6 win in the semifinals. Edmond was wrestling against Nic Goebel from Findlay in the semifinals where both competitors were nearly pinned. Both near falls were evaded by the wrestlers going out of bounds and granted a center start by the officials.
Edmond matched up with Keith Surber from Nebraska Kearney who proved to be a tough competitor as Edmond lost the match 4-1. The match was tied 0-0 after the first two periods, but Surber rode Edmond for the entire second period. In the third period, Edmond let his opponent up to try and tie the match, but gave up a takedown with less than a minute to go.
True freshman Isaiah White won his semifinal match comfortably with an 8-1 decision and won his championship match just as easily with a 10-3 victory. White was able to score on a takedown in the first 20 seconds against Broack Wingbermuehle from McKendree in his title match.
White released Wingbermuehle after the initial takedown and the first period ended 2-1. White then rode his competitor for the entire second period to build up over two minutes of riding time going into the final period. White then scored seven points in the final two minutes which included two quick back-to-back takedowns and earned a bonus point for riding time.
"I'm excited," White said after winning his individual title. "I want to thank all of my coaches, my mom and my dad, and all of those who have supported me this year."
Things were a little closer in the 184 semifinal when senior Garrett Lineberger won his match with the help of two back points to win 6-4. In his title match, Lineberger used back points once again as he won quickly with a 15-0 tech. fall just 21 seconds into the second period. Lineberger was able to put Nicholas Fiegener of Cal. Baptist. on his back three times in the first period, including twice in the last 20 seconds to go up 14-0 after the first three minutes.
The senior from Hughesville, Md. won his second career title, repeating his success from his freshman season, after escaping to earn his 15th point 21 seconds into the second period.
"My sophomore year didn't work out well, my junior year didn't work out well, but I got it done this year," Lineberger said through both emotion and exhaustion. "I lost my grandfather, he was my best friend and I know he's watching right now."
At 285 match by Kameron Teacher won his semifinal match 7-2, but was unable to win the title match later in the day. Teacher was pinned by Garrett Gray from Tiffin after 83 seconds of wrestling. Gray was able to bear hug Teacher and get him to his back for the fall.
This is the fourth national title for the NDC wrestling program in the last eight years and the second NCAA Division II National Championship in the last four years. The Falcons previously won two NAIA Championships in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons and won their first NCAA title in the 2013-14 season.
The Falcons finished with a total of seven All-Americans with the five finalists, David Bavery and Cobey Fehr. Bavery and Fehr both finished in eighth-place to earn the All-American honors.
Notre Dame College will hold an event to celebrate and honor the 2016-17 National Championship later this week. Specifics for this event will be announced by the athletic department early this week.