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Defending champion Grand View leads NAIA Nationals after session one



Grand View holds early team lead; Three-of-four defending champions remain in championship bracket.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Defending national champion Grand View (Iowa) ended the first session of the 2013 NAIA Wrestling National Championships leading the way with 40 points Friday at the Jacobson Exhibition Center. The Vikings had nine of their 11 qualifiers advance into the quarterfinals to hold a 2.5-point lead over second-place Montana State-Northern (37.5). Southern Oregon is third with 36.5 points, while Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (34.5) and Dickinson State (N.D.) (29.5) round out the top five.

Three of the four defending national champions continued their bid for another title. Mitchell Lofstedt of Southern Oregon (125) ran his season pin total to 19 by sticking Kyle Robinson of Briar Cliff (Iowa) in the first round and Indiana Tech's Kris McKinley in the second. Lofstedt spent a total of 2:18 on the mat. He now owns a 32-1 record on the season.

With a pair of pins against Antonio Lopez of Jamestown (N.D.) and Simpson's (Calif.) Austin Lobsinger, Eric Thompson of Grand View, the defending national champion at 285 pounds, moved to the top of the NAIA season wins list with 40. The junior has won his last three matches by fall and boasts a record of 40-5.

Midland's (Neb.) Jahsua Marsh (184), who claimed the top prize at 197 pounds in 2012, was the lone defending champion to fall, dropping a 3-2 decision to Cody Linton of Cumberland (Tenn.). Linton advanced into the quarterfinals after knocking off Adam Wolfe of Great Falls (Mont.), 8-2.

In addition to Lofstedt and Thompson, 29 All-Americans advanced into the quarterfinals.

Three-time All-American Myles Mazurkiewicz of Great Falls (Mont.) avoided a second-round upset attempt by Cumberland's Jake Williams at 141 pounds with an 11-9 sudden victory decision. Mazurkiewicz jumped out with a takedown and a two-point nearfall, only to have Williams answer with six-straight points, including a reversal to start the second period, and a take 6-4 lead. Starting from down in the third period, Mazurkiewicz reversed the Bulldog and earned a three-point nearfall to go up 9-6. A reversal by Williams, combined with 1:19 of riding time evened the score at 9-9 to force an extra 60 seconds of action. Mazurkiewicz took the sophomore down and clinched the victory to advance into the quarterfinals.

The first round in 184 pounds showcased one match between All-Americans when Weston Keleher of Missouri Baptist and Brian Block of Morningside (Iowa) took to the mat. Keleher, who pinned the Mustang in 8:52 in the quarterfinals of last year's championships, got the better of Block for the second-straight time in national competition with an 8-4 decision. However, Keleher's attempt to return to the quarterfinals was stalled when he was pinned in 4:32 by Montana State-Northern's Toby Cheff in the second round. Block was the only multi-time All-American of five to suffer defeat.

All-American Ethan Hinebauch of Montana State-Northern picked up his 25th win by fall at 165 pounds, which leads the NAIA, with a 4:11 stick of Cumberlands' (Ky.) Zack Barkett in the second round.

Three schools making their first trip to the national championships: Benedictine (Kan.), Life (Ga.) and Simpson (Calif.). Of the nine combined qualifiers, Joe Hunter of Benedictine (Kan.) advanced into the quarterfinals at 149 pounds with a pair of decisions.

Friday's second session will get underway at 6:30 p.m. with the quarterfinals, followed by two rounds of consolation action. For live match-by-match scoring, click here.
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