The Northwestern wrestling team traveled to Wichita, Kansas over spring break to compete in the NAIA Wrestling National Championships. The three Red Raiders that qualified to compete in the meet were senior Andrew Null (165), who entered into the tournament as a two-time national qualifier and finished with All-American honors last year; senior Dante Preciado (149), who entered the tournament as a three-time national qualifier and finished as an All-American his freshman year; and freshman Luke Jenness (184), who earned his first trip to the tournament.
“The guys battled hard,” said head coach Rik Dahl. “They all were put into tough situations and continued to work through them.”
The NW wrestling team ended up finishing 30th out of 53 teams with 6.5 total team points. Null captured those team points for the Raiders as he finished eigth in the tournament, a podium spot, earning All-American status.
He accepted his All-American honors on the evening of Friday, March 6 as he won his blood round match against Mason McDaniel (Life, Ga.) by decision, 8-4. His win put him in the final eight wrestlers at the 165-pound weight class. Null finished his career as a two-time All-American and a three-time National Tournament qualifier.
Both Jenness and Preciado went 0-2 on the first National Championship day. They faced tough matchups and fought hard but did not come out on top. Preciado ends his NW career as a four-time National Tournament qualifier and a one time All-American.
Jenness is hopefully just starting the first of many visits to the NAIA Championships.
Senior and student coach, Dylan Costello, was sent as NW wrestling’s Champion of Character.
Costello said, “Dante wrestled really hard and has a lot to be proud of, he was put into really tough situations and continued to battle through it. Luke has a solid base and is extremely strong for his weight class, but where we need to improve is his technique at this level. Drew wrestled really well and maintained his composure throughout the whole tournament, really showing himself to be a leader.”
NW graduates eight seniors this year and is excited to see how the underclassmen can contribute and step into their spots next season.