Wrestling team earns fifth-place finish at nationals
The Grand Valley State University men’s club wrestling team completed their season at the 2013 NCWA National Championships in Allen, Texas in impressive fashion, earning a fifth-place finish with 92.5 total points.
GVSU entered the competition as the No. 7 team in the NCWA Coaches Poll after a solid 2013 campaign, and saw three wrestlers earn a top-four finish against some of the best competition in the nation.
Senior Frank Bastien (18-4) won seven matches in the 235 pound bracket, ultimately earning a third-place finish after defeating the University of Central Florida’s Josh Woods by fall at 4:42. The performance proved to be crucial for the Lakers, scoring the team 26.5 points.
“It was amazing,” Bastien said. “My last two matches were against kids who had already beaten me this year, so I just decided to give it my all. I’m grateful that things fell my way.”
The No. 13 seed won six of his seven matches via pin.
Junior Kyle Horr (24-3) scored 15.5 team points in the 141 pound bracket after making it all the way to the third-place match. Horr earned a fourth-place finish, ultimately losing by decision against West Chester University’s Luke Bilyeu.
“It’s a pretty fulfilling feeling to finish where we did after all the hard work this season,” he said. “We’re really excited about fifth place.”
Freshman Austin Geerlings (34-9) also earned a fourth-place finish in the 165 pound bracket, making it to the third-place match before falling to Liberty University’s Robert Clymer by decision. Geerlings earned the team 14.5 points.
“I just kept on putting constant pressure on my opponents,” he said. “The (fourth-place finish) is not what I wanted coming in as the second seed, but hopefully I’ll be looking at three straight national titles from here on out.”
Senior Carl Worthy (21-7) placed for the Lakers in the 197 pound bracket, earning a seventh-place victory over Cliff Hill of Penn State University – Dubois by decision earning the team 11.5 points. Worthy’s classmate Andrew Stepanovich (6-5) earned the team 7.0 points in the 125 pound bracket before falling to Zach McKenna of California Baptist University by decision.
California Baptist went on to win the Men’s Division I Championship with 145.5 total points.
Senior Kyle Hilliard (3-5) also took part in the Lakers’ overall scoring output, gaining 2.0 points in the 285 pound bracket.
Every point proved to be important in the close competition, and four GVSU freshmen combined to play a big role with key contributions.
Gabriel Stepanovich (27-5) garnered 5.0 points in the 157 pound bracket, Bruce Rau (9-21) scored 5.0 points in the 174 pound bracket, Tyler Dempsey (14-17) earned in 3.0 points in the 133 pound bracket while Carter Augustyn (21-10) earned 2.5 points in the 149 pound bracket.
“This is a really young team,” Bastien said. “If they all stick with it, they’re going to be a great team in the future. They really have a great shot at winning the whole thing next year.”