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This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

Terry Shockley named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

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Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

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Cleveland, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia & St. Louis are Div. I finalists. Div. II and III finalists also announced....



NAIA National Championships review: Southern Oregon's depth too much for NAIA field



The 44th NAIA National Tournament was one the most exciting National Finals in 10 years stated by many of the referees and coaches. There were upsets from the start to the finish, five point leads were not enough going into the third period, the wrestling was non-stop individuals scrambled and maneuvered as though they were NCAA Division I. Nine number one seeds reached the finals, six National Champions returned but only four #1 seeds and two defending National Champions left St. Charles as National Champions of 2001. Head Official Ron Collins commented, "This was a very exciting tournament to officiate, the wrestling was fantastic. The wrestlers had great attitudes, everyone seemed to enjoy the atmosphere." The February 20th final team rankings had the Southern Oregon Raiders at #4 and the Missouri Valley Vikings at #3. It was a fairy tale for the Raiders a team who were ranked as low as sixth managed eleven All-Americans and two National Champions and the third highest team points scored in a national tournament. The Vikings had nine All-Americans and two National Champions, it was the Raiders depth that proved to be to much for the Vikings as they scored 158 points to Missouri Valley's 151.5. The team race actually was a tight battle after the first round with seven points separating the top eight teams. It was not until after the quarterfinals and third consolation round on Friday evening that Southern Oregon took a comfortable lead. Heading into Saturday's morning semi-finals the Raiders had 74.5 points ten more than Missouri Valley and 16 more than defending national champion Montana State University-Northern. The Raiders had assured themselves eleven All-Americans with six in the semi-finals, the Vikings also had six in the semi's but only three in the consolations. There were three more teams anticipating a title with five each in the semi-finals and three in the consolations MSU-Northern, Cumberland College and Lindenwood Univesity, both The University of Mary and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University had four semi-finalist and four in the consolations. It might have been anyone's title if Southern Oregon went cold and someone else got hot. It was not to be the Raiders kept their momentum sending four into the championship finals with Missouri Valley countering with five finalist, only one other team sent more than two wrestlers to the finals The U. of Mary with three. Before the consolation round for 3rd, 5th and 7th place Southern Oregon with 139 points had a 5.5 point advantage over Missouri Valley with 133.5, MSU-Northern had a solid hold for third with 114 points followed by Mary at 99 and Lindenwood at 92. Montana State University-Northern received a big blow when true freshman Caleb Schaeffer lost his composure during his third place match and was called for "Flagrant Misconduct" and disqualified removing all his team points (15.5) and stripping him of his All-American status and opportunity to become a four-time All-American. This dropped the Lights from third to fifth place without the ability to recover with only one finalist. Coach Ray stated, "the referees were correct in their decision, Caleb's behavior was uncalled for, it was a very expensive lesson for the team and Caleb. He has three years to redeem himself. I am very confident in his ability to grow from this incident" Coach Ray was asked about his team's performance, if it were a good showing. "I felt that my team wrestled a good tournament considering we brought six freshman and one sophomore, I knew we were over rated, but what can you say, your not going to tell your team this. To win a team title you must wrestle a great tournament, good is not enough. We lost three of four matches the first round, in all three of those matches we lead in the third period, the last three years we found a way to win those matches, but not today. I am still pleased with having four freshman in the top four." MSU-Northern did not allow the incident to overshadow the accomplishments of their 197 pounder Turk Lords, who became the sixth wrestler in 44 years of NAIA wrestling to win four National Titles. Turk also won the "Gorrarian Award" for the most falls in the least amount of time with three falls in 9:52. Turk was also awarded the "Most Outstanding Performer", along with his three falls he had one major decision 12-2. Turk had defeated all his finals opponents by a 41-3 score (9-1,'98), (14-0,'99), (6-0,'00), (12-2,'01) and he never was defeated by a NAIA opponent nor NCAA Division II or III. His college career record stood at 126 wins and 10 losses, his losses all came to NCAA D-I opponents ranked in the top six at the time. Turk Lords feelings and thoughts on becoming a four-time National Champion, "I had no doubt that I would win but how would I do it, the final score, the margin of victory that I did not know. It was a good feeling knowing that I was one of only six wrestlers ever to accomplish this feat, you're in a elite group." The 6.5 point margin of victory would have been different if it were not for the rule to allow a team to qualify 12 wrestlers for the NAIA National Tournament (a team can have only two competitors at a weight class). This rule in reality won the tournament for the Raiders where they had double placers in three weight classes (165, 184,197) compared to the Vikings one weight class (157). The most significant advantage for the Raiders would have to be the change in tournament scoring for placement points, inserted by the NCAA for places 3rd through 8th this year. With the last year's scoring system Southern Oregon would have scored 17 fewer points compared to the Vikings 6 fewer, the final team score would have read 145.5 to 141 in favor of Missouri Valley. The new system proves to benefit the team with the most balance. Mike Ritchey coach of the National Champions Southern Oregon Raiders was very pleased and excited for his team and institution. The last time the Raiders won the title was in 1994 and they had to share it with Western Montana College. For Coach Ritchey's efforts his peers voted him as the "2001 Coach of the Year". Coach Ritchey was asked what he thought his teams chances were before the tournament started, "I felt we were a dark horse with the ability to win if all performed. My goal was to have twelve placers I got eleven. We had great shots of placing high at the 165 and 197 weight classes. The seniors on this team Jeremy Wynia, Ryan Schumann, Daniel Sturgell and Devin Cole provided great leadership, they kept everyone positive and enuthusiastic." CHAMPIONSHIP BOUTS 125 - Returning 2000 national runner-up Andrew Medders of Cumberland College rated #1 all season was pitted against seventh seed and two-time All-American Chad Hopkins of Missouri Valley. The match started with a Medders getting the first takedown, then a reverasal by Hopkins followed by a quick escape for Medders made the score 3-2 Medders with only over a minute in the match. Medders tossed Hopkins to his back in a cross ankle pick and underhook off a Hopkins takedown attempt ending the match with a fall in 2:31. 133 - CJ Campbell of Lindenwood ranked #1 faced #7 seed Brian Biel of Mary. It was the second consecutive year that Biel was seeded seventh and reached the championship finals. The match start with a Campbell takedown and a escape by Biel at that point the match turned to Greco-Roman as each wrestler exchanged throws and points. The first period ended with each wrestler tied at five points each. Biel started the second period down, with a quick escape moved up 6-5 but Campbell countered with another takedown. Biel escaped and with a body-lock put Campbell on his back for five, Campbell escaped and scrambled for another takedown, but Biel escaped to go ahead 12-10. With only seconds remaining Biel body-lock Campbell again to his back for four more points leading 16-10 going into the third period. Campbell chose the down position, hitting a standup he made a dramatic mistake when he tried to turn in and face Biel from his standup Biel locked up another Body-Lock for
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