Lazaro, Hellinger finish runner-up at nationalsDES MOINES, Iowa — Two Dickinson State wrestlers entered championship matches Saturday at the NAIA national tournament.
By: The Press Staff, The Dickinson Press
DES MOINES, Iowa — Two Dickinson State wrestlers entered championship matches Saturday at the NAIA national tournament.
Unfortunately for the Blue Hawks, both walked away with runner-up finishes.
Junior Jesse Hellinger fell by a decision at 184 pounds and junior 125-pounder Bryden Lazaro was pinned in his title match. Nonetheless, the Blue Hawks had five all-Americas finishers and took fourth place as a team after starting the year ranked No. 14.
“I think that’s a pretty good climb,” DSU head coach Thadd O’Donnell said.
Lazaro opened up championship night against Southern Oregon’s Mitchell Lofstedt and battled right away, nearly scoring a takedown before Lofstedt got to his feet.
Lofstedt got a takedown on Lazaro shortly after and got the pin in 2 minutes, 31 seconds to win his third consecutive national championship.
“We were definitely the big underdog in the match,” O’Donnell said.
Hellinger scored the first two takedown points against Jameel Bryant of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) but got caught twice after that and couldn’t regain the lead. Bryant went on to take a 8-4 decision.
O’Donnell said it was the first time since he has been DSU’s head coach that every Blue Hawk wrestler at the national tournament contributed to the team points.
Grand View (Iowa) won the national title with 159 points with Southern Oregon taking second with 153 and Montana State-Northern coming in third at 104. DSU had 84.5 points.
“It was a great year,” O’Donnell said. “It went way too fast.”
Senior Cameron Schrempp had the best finish of his career, fighting back to take third place after falling in the quarterfinals Friday.
Schrempp handled Zeke Hunt of Cumberland with a 10-0 major decision and earned a 4-2 overtime decision over Grand View’s Thomas Moran in the consolation semifinals. That set up a third-place rematch with Montana State-Northern’s Max Payne, who beat Schrempp in the quarterfinals.
Schrempp handled Payne, claiming a 6-1 decision to finish third.
Senior Jose Lopez closed out his career with two pins after falling to Brandon Gebhardt of Baker University (Kan.) by a 4-2 decision in the semifinals.
Lopez stuck Lonnie Brown of Midland (Neb.) in 3 minutes, 52 seconds in the consolation semifinals and then pinned Simpson’s Austin Lobsinger in 2:46 in the third-place match.
“Cameron beat the guy who beat him, so he avenged that loss,” O’Donnell said. “That definitely is a plus for him and is probably one of the best matches I’ve seen Jose wrestle, as far as movement and being excited and using his athletic ability.
“A lot of seniors don’t get to do that. There’s a very, very small percentage that do and they both went out with wins. That’s definitely a feather in their hat.”
Senior Brad Steele, who is from Beach, ended his career with an eighth-place finish after losing a pair of one-point decisions in the wrestlebacks.
Chris Hart of Wayland Baptist beat him 4-3 in a close seventh-place match.
“He’s a champion of character all the way around,” O’Donnell said. “He just had tough luck in some calls. It wasn’t wrestling-wise. It’s some things are outside your control. It wasn’t what happened to you, it was how you react to it.”
NAIA National Tournament
Dickinson State wrestlers
Bryden Lazaro, 125
Semifinal: Lazaro dec. Aaron LaFarge, Montana State-Northern, 9-2. Championship: Mitchell Lofstedt, Southern Oregon, pinned Lazaro, 2:31.
Brad Steele, 141
Consolation Round 5: Jake Williams, Cumberland University, dec. Steele, 5-4. Seventh place: Chris Hart, Wayland Baptist, dec. Steele, 4-3.
Cameron Schrempp, 174
Consolation Round 5: Schrempp major dec. Zeke Hunt, Cumberland University, 10-0. Consolation semifinal: Schrempp dec. Thomas Moman, Grand View, 4-2 SV. Third place: Schrempp dec. Max Payne, Montana State-Northern, 6-1.
Jesse Hellinger, 184
Semifinal: Hellinger dec. Toby Cheff, Montana State-Northern, 12-5. Championship: Jameel Bryant, Lindsey Wilson, dec. Hellinger, 8-4.
Jose Lopez, 285
Semifinal: Brandon Gebhardt, Baker, dec. Lopez, 4-2. Consolation semifinal: Lopez pinned Lonnie Brown, Midland, 3:52. Third place: Lopez pinned Austin Lobsinger, Simpson, 2:46.