2019 Lower Midwest Region Preview

Cross Cannone is up a weight looking for a 2nd NCAA title

Date – Saturday and Sunday, February 23-24, 2019

Location – Five Flags Center, Dubuque, IA

Teams (17) – Augustana, Buena Vista, Central, Coe, Cornell, Dubuque, Huntingdon, Loras, Luther, MacMurray, Millikin, Nebraska Wesleyan, North Central, Simpson, University of the Ozarks, Wartburg, Westminster

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Top Ten Ranked Individuals (2018 All-Americans in bold)
February 5th Rankings
125 – 6. Kyner (Wartburg)
133 – 4. Rathbun (Wartburg), 5. Everson (Loras)
141 – 4. Williams (Millikin), 5. Kelly (Loras), 8. Fritz (Wartburg)
149 – 8. Sax (Westminster)
157 – 1. Cannone (Wartburg), 6. Murray (Loras), 7. Birt (Millikin), 10. Erickson (Coe)
165 – 4. Ross (Wartburg), 8. Kerkhoff (Buena Vista), 10. Smith (Loras)
174 – 4. Briggs (Wartburg), 6. Voss (Coe)
184 – 10. Baldridge (North Central)
197 – 2. Patron (Loras), 3. Jennings (Millikin), 6. Mehman (Coe), 7. Vittal (North Central)
285 – 3. Jones (Augustana)

Top 25 Teams (NWCA List)
1. Wartburg
8. Loras
10. Coe
11. North Central
12. Central
16. Millikin

Defending NCAA champions Wartburg have won this region every year it has been contested, and they are favorites yet again. However, they will be tested if they want to win another NCAA title. A loss to Johnson & Wales at the National Duals combined with a close win over then #1 Augsburg last month have injected some uncertainty into the NCAA race. With a pair of NCAA champions in Brock Rathbun and Cross Cannone, the Knights are well-positioned for March.

Loras, Coe, and Central are all top 12 teams which makes the newly christened American Rivers Conference extremely tough as usual. Loras is led by returning NCAA runner-up Guy Patron and has five wrestlers in the d3wrestle.com top ten. Coe has a pair of returning All-Americans of their own in Cole Erickson and Jake Voss. Central has nobody in the latest top ten, but they do have nine wrestlers appearing somewhere in the rankings. They have a tough lineup from top to bottom and will score well at every weight. Millikin returns three All-Americans and will contend for a top spot. North Central sits at #11 in the team rankings and has a pair of top ten individuals to go along with five others who appear in the d3wrestle.com rankings.

Augustana’s Adarios Jones missed last year with an injury, but in 2017 he finished third in the country, beating both of last year’s finalists along the way. He is currently undefeated and has gotten bonus points in every match but one. Second year program Westminster has a ranked wrestler in Sean Sax who is hoping to be the program’s first ever NCAA qualifier.