Wrestler of the Week: Midlands Placewinners
This week, a trio of wrestlers share the d3wrestle.com/WWSport.com Wrestler of the Week award. Byron Tate, John Helgerson, and Isaac Dukes each placed in the Midlands Tournament last week, giving Division III one of its best ever performances in the event. Dukes placed 8th at 149 for Case, Helgerson was 5th at 285 for Wartburg, and Tate gave Wartburg another placewinner with a runner-up performance at 197.
Dukes got things started with a bang, defeating #3 seed Corey Jantzen of Harvard in the first round. Jantzen was ranked 8th in Division I by InterMat at the time of the match. Dukes went on to make the quarterfinals before eventually reaching the placing round where he medically defaulted his last two matches to place 8th.
Helgerson defeated the #5 seed Tucker Lane of Nebraska and the #12 seed Kyle Simonson of Iowa State to reach the quarterfinals where he fell to Ryan Flores of American. In the consolation round, he fought his way back to the fifth place match where he defeated #3 seed (and #3 ranked!) DJ Russo of Rutgers to place 5th. Helgerson defeated four Division I top 20 wrestlers at the event, losing only to the #2 and #4 ranked wrestlers in the nation.
Tate led the Division III performers by making the finals at 197. Coming in as the #4 seed, Tate rode four decisions to the finals, including a win over the #18 ranked Riley Orozco of Cal State-Bakersfield in the quarterfinals. In the finals, Tate was defeated on a riding time by Matt Wilps of Pitt. You can see Tate’s finals match this Saturday at 4pm on the Big Ten Network. The finals will also be replayed at 5pm on 1/13, 7pm on 1/14, and 5am on 1/15.
All three of these wrestlers made the NCAA finals last season, with Tate and Dukes winning titles, while Helgerson placed 2nd. Each of them is currently ranked #1 in both the d3wrestle.com and NWCA Division III rankings. Wartburg will be the #2 seed at this weekend’s NWCA National Duals, while Dukes and Case will wrestle a dual meet at Thiel College on Saturday.