The Red Raider wrestlers tied a Northwestern school record by qualifying nine individuals for the NAIA National Championships, which took place on March 4-6, in Oklahoma City.
Sophomore Nic Leither, NW’s Champion of Character this season, placed fourth in the tournament to be named All-American for the second consecutive year. He came into the tournament ranked sixth with a record of 23-6, recording 44 takedowns throughout the season. Leither began the tournament with two wins, 9-2 and 12-3. He then faced a tough 11-6 loss, but came back to win 3-2 in the wrestlebacks to reach the third place match. He ended the tournament losing by fall in 6:27 to place fourth.
Senior Levi Price went 4-3 at 149 pounds to place 8th in the tournament and earned honorable mention All-American honors. He also earned All-American honors in 2008. His season record was 31-11 with eight pins and 37 takedowns. He began the tournament winning 11-1 and then losing a close 4-3 match. He came back with a vengeance in the wrestle backs, pinning his opponent in just 46 seconds. He went on to win 11-3 and 6-5, but lost by fall to Ashtin Primus, who ended up finishing third. Price lost his seventh place match 10-4 to finish his career as NW’s all-time leader in career wins.
Senior Brian Heiberger went 2-2 at 157 pounds, pinning his first two opponents in 4:22 and 2:26. He then lost in the quarterfinals 11-6 and then lost by fall in 2:41. Heiberger finished with a 14-17 record.
At 165 pounds, sophomore Luke Evjen went 1-2 as he fell 5-3 in his first match, but came back and won his next match 9-4. He was eliminated after that in a close 5-4 match. He finished with a 24-12 record and 35 takedowns.
Junior David Carter also went 1-2 in the tournament at 174 pounds. He lost his first match by fall, then won by defalt before losing by fall in his final match. Carter finished with a 21-19 record and a team-high five technical falls. He also had 30 three-point near falls and 10 two-point near falls, which let the Raiders this season.
At 125 pounds, freshman Diego Quintana lost 8-3 and 15-8, finishing 21-21 with a team-high 55 takedowns. Sophomore Matt Dowell lost 11-2 and 15-2 at 141 pounds, finishing 14-21 with 17 takedowns. At 157 pounds, Jerod Flores lost 5-2 and 7-6. Flores, who qualified at both 141 and 157 pounds finished 21-12, recording a team-high nine pins this season. Junior Brad Hughes lost by fall and 8-5 at heavyweight. He finished 21-16 with 44 takedowns and seven pins.