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No. 1 Wartburg places five in semifinals to take big lead at NCAA Division III Championships



CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Jim Miller knows how difficult it is to win a national championship.

Even though his team has won the NCAA Division III Championships nine times, Miller knows how much work it takes to cart home a gold trophy.

Miller’s team won its first 16 matches, but dropped three of its last four while taking the lead in the team race at the tournament’s halfway mark.

The retiring Miller saw his squad advance five wrestlers to the semifinals and clinch seven All-American berths before 2,077 fans on Friday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

Wartburg, winners of four of the last five titles in DIII, leads with 66 points. Wisconsin-Whitewater is second with 46 points and Elmhurst is third with 39.5 points.

“It’s a battle out there, with a lot of highs and lows,” Miller said. “We lost some we shouldn’t have, but we won close ones too. It’s a tough tournament, it always is. We’ve got work to do. It’s going to be a grind tomorrow.”

The Knights are seeking their first three-peat at the NCAA tournament.

The semifinals are set for 10 a.m. Saturday in Cedar Rapids with the finals to follow that evening.

Wartburg’s trio of returning national champions – Kenny Anderson at (133), Kodie Silvestri (149) and Landon Williams (165) – each advanced to the semifinal round. Williams won two matches in overtime Friday.

Wartburg received another big win early in the semifinals when No. 7 seed Tommy Mirocha erased a three-point deficit in the third period to edge No. 2 Ryan Earley of Elmhurst 9-8 at 141. Mirocha avenged a loss from the National Duals.

Wisconsin-Whitewater received a big win at 157 when No. 8 seed Cade Sarbacker knocked off No. 1 seed Elias Larson of Trine 6-5 in the quarters.

Returning champions Nazar Kulchytskyy of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (165), Kyle Kwiat of Ohio Northern (174) and Chad Johnson of Augsburg (285) each advanced to the semifinals.

TEAM SCORING (TOP 10)
Wartburg 66, Wisconsin-Whitewater 46, Elmhurst 39.5, Wisconsin-La Crosse 32.5, Ithaca 29, Centenary 27, SUNY-Cortland 25.5, Springfield 24, Augsburg 22.5, College of New Jersey 21.5.

SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS

125 Pounds
Ricardo Gomez (Ithaca) vs. Gilberto Camacho (Wartburg)
Jimmy Gotto (Coe) vs. Chris Donaldson (Ursinus)

133 Pounds
Kenny Anderson (Wartburg) vs. Brandon Jones (New York University)
Alex Gomez (Ithaca) vs. Grant Sutter (Wisconsin-Whitewater)

141 Pounds
Joseph Grippi (Springfield) vs. Paul Marcello (Johns Hopkins)
Adam Sheley (Wisconsin-La Crosse) vs. Tommy Mirocha (Wartburg)

149 Pounds
Kodie Silvestri (Wartburg) vs. Robert Dierna (SUNY-Cortland)
Greg Sanders (Concordia) vs. Vincent Pisani (York)

157 Pounds
Cade Sarbacker (Wisconsin-Whitewater) vs. Kristopher Krawchuk (Wilkes)
Devin Biscaha (Springfield) vs. Chris Burdge (Centenary)

165 Pounds
Landon Williams (Wartburg) vs. John Darling (College of New Jersey)
Nazar Kulchytskyy (Wisconsin-Oshkosh) vs. Joey Favia (Stevens Institute of Technology)

174 Pounds
Kyle Kwiat (Ohio Northern) vs. Kevin O’Brien (Wisconsin-La Crosse)
Lou Puca (SUNY-Cortland) vs. Jules Doliscar (Ithaca)

184 Pounds
Josef Rau (Elmhurst) vs. Julian Meaney (Elizabethtown)
Josh Thomson (Messiah) vs. Brian Broderick (College of New Jersey)

197 Pounds
Andrew Lovins (Heidelberg) vs. Mike Benefiel (Elmhurst)
Alex Coolidge (Cornell) vs. Aaron Karns (Delaware Valley)

285 Pounds
Chad Johnson (Augsburg) vs. James Buss (Loras)
Joseph Zitone (Centenary) vs. William Mayer (Wisconsin-La Crosse)
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