Seven national top-10 team finishes
CEDAR RAPIDS— Central College sophomore Daniel Page (Yelm., Wash., Tumwater HS) picked up two wins and advanced to the championship quarterfinals before bowing out of the NCAA Division III wrestling championships Friday.
Page was one match out of earning all-America distinction.
One of four wrestlers to compete in a pigtail leading into the 16-man bracket, Page topped Isaac Balsiger of Wis.-La Crosse by an 8-5 decision. He upset fifth-seeded Sean Ambrocio of Concordia (Wis.) by a 7-6 decision to reach the quarterfinals.
“Daniel worked hard from all positions and stayed aggressive for two hard-fought wins,” coach Eric Van Kley said. “If anything, he was overaggressive. Daniel really put two solid matches together and had a terrific win against the No. 5 seed.”
Page met fourth-ranked Gilberto Camacho of Wartburg in the quarterfinals. After splitting matches earlier in the year, Camacho edged Page in a 5-4 decision.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Van Kley said. “The matches get tougher as the tournament goes on and Camacho is a very solid wrestler. Daniel wrestled his heart out but came up a little short.”
Falling to the consolation bracket, Page faced Balsiger again and dropped a 9-3 decision.
“The score’s a little deceiving,” Van Kley said. “Daniel lost a tough scramble at the end of the first period that took him out the game plan and was forced to try and make something happen.”
Page closed the year at 24-8.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Daniel,” Van Kley said. “This season and the tournament has been a positive experience that he can build on for the future. Finishing one match from all-America honors is terrific motivation for him to work that much harder next year.”
Page was Central’s third straight wrestler to compete at the NCAA tourney. The Dutch wrapped up the regular season with a 12-6 dual record, their fourth consecutive season reaching the 10-win mark.
“As a program we continue to make strides in the right direction,” Van Kley said. “There are a lot of positives and we’ll use this success as a springboard. I’m very excited for the future of Central wrestling.”