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Wrestlers To Compete At WIAC Championships
Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2005
EAU CLAIRE - The UW-Eau Claire wrestling team will look to improve on last year's fourth place finish when they compete in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships Sunday on the Lawrence University campus.
The tournament features three teams in the top 30 in the nation led by seven-time defending conference champion UW-La Crosse. The Eagles are third in the nation followed by UW-Stevens Point in 11th and UW-Whitewater in 30th.
The Blugolds come into the tournament with a 14-23 overall record and a 1-5 record in WIAC dual meets. The only WIAC dual meet win came in a 25-23 victory over Lawrence.
Derek Sikora (Jr.-Neillsville) looks to duplicate last year's run when his conference championship at 165 pounds catapulted him to a third place finish at nationals. Sikora is currently eighth in the nation at 165 pounds with a 23-3 record. Sikora's only loss in the conference came against second-ranked Nick Ammerman of La Crosse.
Josh Holforty (Fr.-Bloomington, MN/Kennedy) enters into his first conference championships. Holforty has wrestled well throughout the season going 22-5 overall and 21-5 at 197 pounds. Two of Holforty's five losses came at the hands of WIAC opponents Jim Swanson of La Crosse and Mitch Szwet of Stevens Point.
The third-ranked Eagles post six wrestlers in the top eight in their respective weight classes. La Crosse is led by two-time conference champion and top-ranked wrestler at 285 pounds Ryan Allen. Ammerman comes in ranked second in the nation at 165 pounds while Ross Needham and Josh Chelf are seventh at 157 and 174 pounds, respectively. Jim Swanson is eighth at 197 pounds while Jordan Kolinski is eighth at 125 pounds.
Stevens Point is led by two-time conference champion and fifth-ranked wrestler at 174 pounds Cody Koenig. Koenig went 23-2 this year with nine wins coming on pins. Joel Burdick has also had a strong year going 18-5 at 141 pounds.
Whitewater brings back three conference champions from last year. John Rombca took first at 125 pounds, Nick Karls first at 141 pounds and Ross Babcock first at 149 pounds. Rombca has gone 27-6 with seven pins while Babcock has gone 22-11 with three pins. The sixth-ranked Karls is 28-4 with six pins.
The WIAC will send at least ten wrestlers to nationals with the winner at each weight class getting a bid. Other wrestlers could advance to nationals depending on the tournament's outcome. The WIAC sent an additional six wrestlers last year.
The championships are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the final session set to begin at 3 p.m.
- JL -