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NAIA gold medal matches set, as defending champion Notre Dame holds lead in team race



CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -The 2011 NAIA Wrestling National Championship title bouts were set and Notre Dame (Ohio) maintained its lead in the team race following the completion of the fourth session in the U.S. Cellular Center Friday.

The reigning national champion Falcons have 143.5 points, holding a 28.5-point advantage on second place McKendree (Ill.) with 115 points. Lindenwood (Mo.) is third with 107.5 points and is followed by Grand View (Iowa) in fourth and Great Falls (Mont.) in fifth, with 98 and 96.5 points, respectively.

Five grapplers will be vying for their second national title on Saturday and three others will make a return appearance in the championship bout. Wrestlers returning to the championship match include the 2009 champion duo from Grand View (Iowa) Matt Burns and Gleen Rhees, at 149 and 174 pounds, respectively, Notre Dame’s 157-pounder Thomas Straughn and Derek Foore at 197 pounds, and McKendree’s Andrew Sanchez at 197.

Making their second appearance in the finals and bidding for their first national title will be Lindenwood’s Chris Chionuma at 165, Montana State-Northern’s 184-pounder Evan Hinebauch and heavyweight Orlando Scales of Notre Dame.

There were two pins in the semifinals, with Midland’s (Neb.) 133-pounder Eddie McCray sticking Kyle Wirkuty of Southern Oregon in 1:31 and Andrew Sanchez of McKendree used 1:42 to pin Waldorf’s (Iowa) Jeff Roman. Four semifinal matches needed extra time to declare the winner. Victors in those bouts were Cumberland’s (Tenn.) Corey Bleaken (157), Noah Hatton of Great Falls (165), Rhees and Foore. Bleaken and Hatton needed just 30 additional seconds to win in the first sudden victory. Foore won his match in the first tiebreaker and Rhees won his in the second tiebreaker.

Two defending national champs were denied a shot at back-to-back titles. Last year’s 133-pound national champion Tommy Pretty of Campbellsville (Ky.) was dealt a 9-5 setback by Great Falls’ Anthony Varnell at 141 pounds and Jeffery Pelton of Notre Dame was edged by Burns at 149 pounds with a 3-2 decision.

There will be two sessions of action Saturday, starting with the third, fifth and seventh-place matches at 10 a.m. CST, with real-time results will be available through the NWCA Live Scorebook by clicking here. The championship finals will start at 7 p.m. and all 10 bouts will be streamed live by NeuLion for a $7.95 fee. Click here for more information.

2011 NAIA Wrestling Championship Team Standings
Place/Score/Team/Championships bracket/Consolations

1. 143.5 Notre Dame OH 5 4
2. 115.0 McKendree 2 5
3. 107.5 Lindenwood 1 8
4. 98.0 Grand View 2 5
5. 96.5 Great Falls 4 2
6. 83.5 Missouri Valley 0 5
7. 80.0 Campbellsville 1 4
8. 75.0 Midland 3 1
9. 63.5 Southern Oregon 0 4
10. 47.0 MSU-Northern 1 2
11. 46.5 Morningside 0 3
12. 36.0 Embry-Riddle 0 2
12. 36.0 Lindsey Wilson 0 2
14. 34.0 Dickinson State 0 2
15. 33.0 Cumberland 1 1
16. 29.0 Baker 0 2
17. 24.5 Dakota Wesleyan 0 1
18. 24.0 Jamestown 0 1
19. 20.0 Waldorf 0 2
20. 17.0 Shorter 0 0
21. 15.5 Cumberlands 0 1
21. 15.5 York 0 0
23. 14.5 Oklahoma City 0 0
24. 13.5 Minot State 0 0
24. 13.5 Missouri Baptist 0 1
26. 12.5 William Penn 0 1
27. 12.0 Concordia 0 0
28. 11.5 Northwestern 0 0
28.11.5 Simon Fraser 0 1
30. 9.5 Menlo 0 0
31. 8.5 Hastings 0 0
32. 5.0 Sioux Falls 0 0
33. 3.0 Bacone 0 0
33. 3.0 Briar Cliff 0 0
35. 2.0 Calumet College of St. Joseph 0 0
35. 2.0 Central Baptist 0 0
37. 1.0 Hannibal-LaGrange 0 0
37. 1.0 Wayland Baptist 0 0
39. 0.5 West Virginia Tech 0 0

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