The 2012 d3wrestle.com Wrestler of the Year is Byron Tate of Wartburg College. Tate became just the 12th wrestler to win three NCAA DIII championships with is win over Dustin Baxter of St. John’s in La Crosse. He is the second Wartburg wrestler to achieve the feat, joining former Knight Dustin Hinschberger. Tate won all three titles at 197 lbs. and finished the season with a 41-3 record. Along the way, he became the first Division III wrestler to compete in the NWCA All-Star Classic since 1989 where he wrestled 2012 NCAA Division I Runner-Up Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro. This season, he placed first at the Simpson Invitational, Dick Walker Invitational, IIAC Championships, and NCAA Championships while placing sixth in the prestigious 2011 Midlands Championships. It was Tate’s second time placing at the Midlands after a runner-up finish in 2010.
In addition to winning three NCAA titles, Tate became the 14th Wartburg wrestler to win three IIAC championships and he compiled an impressive 138-14 record with 47 falls. He has numerous wins over wrestlers ranked in Division I, and his three finals opponents at the NCAA championships combined for one NCAA championship, four runner-up finishes (3 to Tate), and nine total All-American Awards.
Wartburg Co-Head Coach Eric Keller had this to say about Tate:
“Byron has been a pleasure to coach and it’s been great to watch him improve each year. His success is a result of coming in everyday with a goal in mind and working his butt off to accomplish it. He is a guy who loves to make it a battle and made every match exactly that. He never set limits on himself, regardless of what the stage was, and the bigger the stage the more excited he got. Wartburg College is very proud of what Byron has accomplished both on and off the mat.”
Congratulations to Byron Tate, the 2012 d3wrestle.com Wrestler of the Year