Date – Friday and Saturday, February 24-25, 2017
Location – Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Indiana (Manchester hosting)
Teams (17) – Adrian, Alma, Chicago, Elmhurst, La Crosse, Manchester, Mount St. Joseph, North Central, Ohio Northern, Olivet, Otterbein, Stevens Point, Thomas More, Trine, Whitewater, Wabash, Wheaton
Top Ten Ranked Individuals (2016 All-Americans in bold)
125 – #3 Denny (Whitewater), #8 Fuentez (Wheaton)
133 – #6 Brodman (Whitewater), #7 Weinmann (La Crosse) #9 Braun (Elmhurst)
141 – #1 Weinmann (La Crosse), #3 Binion (North Central), #4 Wilson (Manchester), #8 Hauser (Elmhurst)
149 – #6 Kelley (Olivet), #7 Geary (La Crosse)
157 – #3 Bova (Wabash)
165 – #1 Hermsen (Stevens Point), #7 Brummett (Wabash), #9 Noverini (Elmhurst)
174 – #3 Carlson (La Crosse)
184 – #1 Newman (Whitewater), #10 Fekete (Wheaton)
197 – #1 Lefever (Wabash)
285 – none
Top 30 Teams (d3wrestle.com list)
#7 La Crosse
#21 Olivet, Wheaton, Stevens Point
#28 North Central
There has only been one four time Division III champion in the 40+ years of Division III. Marcus LeVesseur won four in a row for Augsburg without taking a loss in his career. Riley Lefever of Wabash is working toward becoming the second four time champ in Divison III history. He will not finish his career undefeated, but he has never lost to a Division III opponent. He hopes to keep that streak alive for two more tournaments. His team is the favorite to defend their regional championship from last year. Teammate Broukal is also a returning DIII champ, but has had limited action this season. #7 La Crosse and #8 Whitewater will have something to say about the team title here, as both have strong squads. Each boasts a #1 ranked wrestler and others who will be in the mix for podium spots in their home state two weeks later.
Logan Hermsen was a bit of a surprise NCAA champion last year out of the 5th seed, but he has followed up that win with an outstanding season. He has one loss at 165 to a Division I wrestler and was the champ at the tough Wheaton Invitational. He has a tough weight with two other ranked wrestlers and two d3wrestle.com Contenders. The toughest weight, for the second year in a row, looks to be 141 with four wrestlers in the top ten. That does not even include Broukal, who won the NCAA title at 133 a year ago. At least one top ten wrestler is guaranteed to have his season end at this tournament, and it could be two if Broukal has more late season magic in him.
Several of the wrestlers listed above missed all or most of last season for various reasons. Fuentez (Wheaton) was a qualifier at 125 in 2015 but was sidelined with an injury in 2016. Carlson (La Crosse) was an All-American in 2015 but missed last year. Newman also placed in the same bracket as Carlson in 2015 and is back after only wrestling in a pair of opens last season. All three will be contenders this weekend and in La Crosse two weeks later.