Five current or former Division III wrestlers made the podium at last weekend’s U.S. Senior National Championships at the Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa. All five placed in Greco-Roman, with former world team member Joe Rau (Elmhurst) leading the way in 2nd place at 87kg. Rau rode a trio of tech falls to the finals where he faced former Cuban national team member Alan Vera and fell 7-1. Vera fled Cuba in 2016 and is nearing the end of the process required to represent the US in world and Olympic competition.
Veteran Greco wrestler Donny Longendyke (Augsburg) finished 3rd at 130kg, avenging an earlier loss in the tournament in the consolation finals. Fellow former Auggie Ryan Epps finished 5th at 77kg after finishing up his college career last season. Epps beat the #2 and #7 seeds along the way. A pair of Loras wrestlers wrapped up the DIII placers. Current senior Brady Vogel finished 5th at 97kg and 2020 graduate Eddie Smith finished 8th at 77kg.
The next USA Wrestling event that could have a DIII contingent is the U23/UWW Junior Championships in Omaha November 12-15. Athletes born between 1997 and 2002 can compete in the U23 event while those born between 2000 and 2003 can compete in the UWW Junior event.
|Ryan Epps||GR, FS||77, 86||Augsburg||5th GR, 1-2 FS|
|Donny Longendyke||GR||130||Augsburg||3rd place|
|Joe Rau||GR||87||Elmhurst||2nd place|
|Eddie Smith||GR||77||Loras||8th place|
|Brady Vogel||GR||97||Loras||5th place|
|Jack Nigro||GR, FS||77, 74||WPI||0-2 GR, 1-2, FS|