Mize, Witzel pace Storm at Next Man In Nationals

Mize, Witzel pace Storm at Next Man In Nationals

DES MOINES, Iowa – Jacob Mize and Taylor Witzel each placed second in their respective weight classes to lead the Simpson wrestling team at the Next Man In Nationals at Hy Vee Hall on Friday afternoon.

Mize placed second at 157 pounds and Witzel took second at 184 for the Storm, who hosted the tournament in conjunction with the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. Ryan Joint (157) and Jared Bevins (197) placed third to round out Simpson's top finishers.

"We struggled with some injuries today, but overall it was a good day of wrestling," head coach Nate Hansen said.

No team scores were kept at the 12-team tournament, which featured wrestlers from Baker (Kan.), Colorado State University, Great Falls (Mont.), Luther, Maryville, Morningside, New York University, Springfield, Upper Iowa, Wilkes and Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Mize received a bye in the first round before pinning Brent Blaser (Luther). He earned a 7-5 decision over Hans Holkesvik (Luther) in the semifinal but unfortunately had to injury default 38 seconds into the championship.

Like Mize, Witzel also received a bye in round one. In the quarterfinals, he topped John Dipace (Springfield) 15-5. His next two matches were tight. He scored a tough, 3-2 win over Justin Kreiter (Luther) in the semifinals but suffered a 5-2 setback against Andrew Pettit (Whitewater) in the finals.

Joint had to work his way through the consolation bracket after losing his first match of the day. He went on to pick up back-to-back pins then scored a 12-3 major decision over Larry Schmueser (Colorado State) in the consolation semifinal. He then pinned Jake Fox in 1:22 in the third-place match.

Bevins also lost his first match of the day, but won his last two to take third. He pinned Travis Shadrach (Baker) in the consolation semis and pulled way for a 9-2 decision over Justin Birschbach (Whitewater) in the third-place match.

The Storm have seven days off before traveling to Kearny, Neb. for the Midwest Duals on Jan. 18.