Wartburg Preview

Wartburg College Knights
Head coach: Jim Miller
Years at school: 18
Career record: 319-30-4
Assistant coaches: Eric Keller – associate head coach/Chris Ortner, T.J. Miller, Jacob Naig and Aaron Wernimont

2008-09 dual record: 15-2-1
2008-09 national qualifiers and All-Americans: Mark Kist (125/3rd), Matt Kelly (133/3rd) Zach McKray (141/2nd), Jacob Naig (149/3rd), Aaron Wernimont (157/1st), Justin Hanson (165/1st), Romeo Djoumessi (184/NQ), Nick Shandri (197/NQ), John Helgerson (285/3rd)
Returning qualifiers and All-Americans: Kist, Kelly and Helgerson
Number of returning wrestlers who competed in 2009 national qualifier: Three

Top returning starters:
Mark Kist – All-American at 125 pounds with third-place finish…Iowa Conference runner-up.
Matt Kelly – All-American at 133 pounds with third-place finish…Iowa Conference runner-up
John Helgerson – Earned All-American honors after third-place finish at NCAA tournament…Iowa Conference champion.

Top incoming wrestlers:
Carrington Banks – 157 – NJCAA champion last year at Iowa Central
T.J. Moen – 3rd place in NJCAA at 149
Nathan Vaske – Iowa High School state champion at 130
Colton Wagner – Iowa High School state champion at 140
Cameron Wagner – Iowa High School runner-up at 135
Tucker Weber – Iowa High School runner-up at 130
Tom Mirocha – Iowa High School runner-up at 130 different class than Weber
Cory Becker – Iowa High School runner-up at heavyweight
Sergio Figueroa – Illinois High School state champion at 119

Wartburg graduated four national champions and a runner up from last year’s national championship team, so the newcomers will be counted on heavily if Wartburg is to make it three in a row.  Thankfully, there are some very talented newcomers who will join Wartburg’s trio of 3rd place winners of a year ago.  Mark Kist, Matt kelly, and John Helgerson will all be national title contenders this year after taking 3rd in 2009.  They are the only returning starters for Wartburg.  However, a pair of junior college All-Americans will fill in nicely, as NJCAA champ Carrington Banks and 3rd place finisher T.J. Moen come over from Iowa junior colleges.  Between the two of them, they won seven Iowa state high school championships to go along with college accolades.  Wartburg has won 17 straight IIAC championships (and 132 straight IIAC duals) and has finished first or second in the nation 15 out of the last 17 years.  Seven starters is a lot to replace and stay on top, but Wartburg has a long track record of success that bodes well for the future.