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Wartburg 2016-2017 Preview

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Wartburg_logoTeam: Wartburg College
Head Coach: Eric Keller
Years at School as Head Coach: 6
Career Record at Current School: 118-3
Assistant Coaches: Chris Ortner, Chris Smith, Kenny Anderson

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2015-2016 Dual Meet Record: 19-0

2016 NCAA Qualifiers: Arnulfo Olea (125, 5th), Connor Campo (133, 7th), Kenny Martin (149, 1st), Drew Wagenhoffer (157, 2nd), Nicholas Michael (165, 2nd), Eric DeVos (174, 2nd), Bryan Levsen (184), Gerard Roman (197, 2nd), Lance Evans (285, 3rd)

Returning NCAA Qualifiers (any year): Olea, Campo, Martin, DeVos, Levsen, Evans.

Top Returning Starters:
Arnulfo Olea (5th; Central Regional Champ)
Connor Campo (7th, Central Regional Champ)
Kenny Martin (two-time defending National Champion at 149, two-time IIAC MVP, Central Regional Champ)
Eric DeVos (2nd, Central Regional Champ)
Bryan Levsen (184, NCAA Qualifier)
Lance Evans (3rd, Central Regional Champ, CoSIDA Academic All-American).

Top Incoming Wrestlers:
Connor Cleveland (two-time Iowa High School State Championships place winner: 2nd and 3rd)
Max Forsyth (placed fourth at Iowa High School State Championships)
John Junk (Ohio State Championships qualifier)
Shea Hartzler (two-time Iowa High School State Championships place winner: 3rd and 1st)
Kyle Briggs (three-time Iowa High School State Championships place winner: 7th, 8th, 5th)
Brian Burns (placed sixth at Illinois High School State Championships)
Logan Thomsen (Transfer)

Season Outlook:
Wartburg returns five All-Americans and six qualifiers from its 2016 NCAA championship team: Arnulfo Olea (125, 5th), Connor Campo (133, 7th), Kenny Martin (two-time defending National Champion at 149), Eric DeVos (174, 2nd), Bryan Levsen (184) and Lance Evans (285, 3rd). The Knights will have some new faces in the lineup replacing the three NCAA finalists who graduated in Drew Wagenhoffer, Nick Michael, and Gerard Roman.

Some major milestones are on the table this season for Wartburg are: the opportunity to win its unprecedented 25th consecutive (and 35th overall) Iowa Conference Championship, a record seventh-straight NWCA national duals titles and 11th overall, a fifth-straight NCAA Central Regional title and the programs 13th NCAA Championship, which would be its ninth in the last 12 years. Wartburg has also won 188 consecutive duals against IIAC opponents, a streak that dates back to 1994.

Two-year starter at 141, junior Kaz Onoo, will be out for the year with a season-ending surgery. Sophomore Cross Cannone will be the front runner for his replacement as he returns from an outstanding freshman campaign.