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|Minnesota captures Division I National Duals title|
By Tim Tushla USA Wrestling
The thunder rolled throughout the UNI-Dome and the collegiate wrestling world today when Minnesota heavyweight Cole Konrad threw two-time defending national champ Steve Mocco of Oklahoma State to his back for the pin that secured the 2006 NWCA National Duals for the Gophers, 21-14.
Minnesota held a slim one-point margin after 197-pounder Jake Rosholt scored a major decision for the Cowboys.
Then lightning struck.
The crowd of over 6,700 was ready to see if Konrad could beat Mocco again, just as he did at the NWCA All-Star meet. After getting an escape to knot the score at 1-1 in the early third period, the two men locked up for an instant. Konrad immediately stepped and dropped Mocco directly onto his back for the pin and the win.
"You have to keep working on a lot of stuff to stay with Mocco," said Minnesota Head Coach J Robinson after the dual. "Cole has gotten bigger, stronger and more confident. He got over a big hurdle at the All-Star meet.
"We coaches said before the meet, 'Who would you want it to come down to?'. The answer was Cole."
The Gophers also got a huge win from true-freshman Dustin Schlatter who decisioned returning national champ Zack Esposito, 8-7, at 149 pounds.
DII top-seed Nebraska-Omaha picked up its third Duals crown with a workmanlike 20-10 win over second-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato. UNO won the first five matches and were anchored by three-time and defending national champion Les Sigman's 5-1 decision at heavyweight.
"We wrestled some good people and some good teams here," noted long-time UNO coach Mike Denny. "But we are solid at every weight and you need to be close to full strength to win a meet like this."
Traditional powers squared off for the DII crown but it was all Wartburg this time as the Knights won the first four and last four matches for an impressive 29-6 over arch-rival Augsburg. Major decisions by Dustin Hinschberger, Scott Kauffman and Ty Miller, along with a technical fall from heavyweight Blake Gills propelled the Knights.
Wartburg Head Coach Jim Miller swears it's still a lot of fun.
"This never gets old," stated Miller. "We got off to a very good start but also knew they could come back quickly.
"But this setting here at the UNI-Dome is awesome for the fans. The NWCA has got be be impressed and the fans from the State of Iowa really came out and supported this event."
Dana College won what is believed to be the first NAIA national title in school history with a hard-fought 22-13 victory over the University of the Cumberlands. 125-pounder Craig Trampe started things off for the Vikings with an upset of #1 Delrico Choates, 3-2. A crucial fall by Marshall Marquardt at 174 pounds gave Dana the impetus it needed for the win.
"That win by Trampe made a big difference as far as our confidence was concerned," said Viking coach Steve Costanzo. "And Marquardt's pin was huge. Any time you get a fall like that in a close contest - that's the dual.
"This is also a huge step for our institution. We only have 650 students and we have wanted something like this for a long time. All these guys are pretty special."
The NJCAA title went to Labette College in a close 18-16 win over Northwest Wyoming. Each team won five matches but Tim Elliott's fall at 125 offset a major decison by Northwest 141-pounder Ross Montour to account for the difference.