Wrestling (M)

Mike Clark (far left), BJ Carman (middle), and Andy Lenz (far right) qualified for the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament.Mike Clark (far left), BJ Carman (middle), and Andy Lenz (far right) qualified for the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament.

Trio of Wrestlers qualify for NAIA National Tournament

     Spencer Adams knew coming into the season that there was a chance that a couple of guys could qualify for the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament. It turns out the team will send a trio of wrestlers to Topeka, Kansas.

     Andy Lenz, Mike Clark and BJ Carman qualified for the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament based on their finishes at the East Regional Tournament held over the weekend at Indiana Tech. Carman got in based on his fourth place finish in the 197 division. Lenz and Clark got in as wild cards in the 125 and 157 weight classes, respectively.

     Adams noted of their accomplishment saying, “For a first year program to come out of there with three national qualifiers is a huge deal.” He continued saying, “All of the guys wrestled tough and it was great to see their hard work paying off.”

     Andy Lenz, a redshirt sophomore from Cynthiana, Ky., posted a fifth place finish in the 125 weight class. Lenz posted a 4-2 record in the event. His biggest win came in the second round when he pinned Kristoph McKinley from Indiana Tech. McKinley came into the match ranked eighth in the 125 division and a two-time All-American. The pin came with 30 seconds remaining in the match. His final loss came against Devan Dodgens, who is ranked 11th in 125, by an 11-5 decision.

     Mike Clark, like Lenz, earned a wild card spot in the national tournament. Clark, a senior from Louisville, Ky., posted a 4-2 record en route to a fifth place finish in the 157 division. He lost his opening round match by a 5-3 decision, but he rebounded with three straight victories. Clark shut out Conrad Lacey from West Virginia Tech in the fifth place match with a 3-0 decision. His only two losses came against Shawn McGhee and Tristan Macri who are ranked 12th and second, respectively.

     BJ Carman was the only other Patriot to qualify for the national tournament. Carman entered the event ranked 16th in the 197 division. Carman, a freshman from New Haven, Ky., posted a 3-2 record at Indiana Tech, good enough for a fourth place finish and an automatic spot in nationals. He advanced to the semifinals before he lost to Jake Maupin from Lindsey Wilson. Maupin was ranked ninth in 197 and was the eventual champion for the 197 division. Carman’s biggest win came in his final match where he picked up a decision victory over Eric Johnson from Calumet College of St. Joseph. Johnson entered the tournament ranked sixth in the 197 division and a two-time All-American.

     As a team the Patriots finished in seventh place out of 13 total teams in the east region. Six out of the top seven teams in the region are from the Mid-South Conference. Lindsey Wilson won the title with 165.5 total points.

     “I believe that all three have a legitimate chance on coming back from Topeka, Kansas as an All-American,” stated Adams. “I fully expect to be coming back with at least one, possibly all three as All-Americans.”

     The trio of Patriots will have a couple of weeks to prepare for the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament, being held in Topeka, Kansas. The tournament begins on Friday, March 6th and ends on March 7th.
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