INDIANOLA, Iowa — Zach Johnston upset the No. 7 wrestler in the country at 141 pounds but defending national champion Wartburg beat the Simpson wrestling team 41-4 in the Iowa Conference opener for both teams Wednesday at Cowles Fieldhouse.
The top-ranked Knights (1-0, 1-0 IIAC) got four technical falls and one pin on the night, improving their Iowa Conference dual winning streak to 189. Fourth-ranked Arnulfo Olea pinned Clayton Fenzl at 125 pounds while top-five wrestlers Eric DeVos, Bryan Levsen, Kyle Fank and Lance Evans all won by tech fall.
"We're getting closer," head coach Nate Hansen said. "Sometimes it's hard to measure. You face these top teams -- a lot of their wrestlers are ranked in the top eight -- and you're not right there yet, but you see what needs to be done and you see the gap between you and the top guys you're facing and you close that gap."
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Johnston had the Storm's lone win on the night, but it was a big one. Facing seventh-ranked Connor Campo, Johnston scored an early takedown and never looked back, leading from wire-to-wire in a 16-8 major decision. He had five takedowns in all and got a reversal in the closing seconds to put it out of reach
"He wrestled his match for seven minutes," Hansen said. "It was a very entertaining match, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it made my night. It didn't surprise me at all."
The Storm (1-2, 0-1) lost close decisions at 149, 157 and 165, hanging around in each match. Jason Kiehne pulled within 6-5 in the third period before No. 7 Cross Cannone got a reversal to win 8-5 at 149. Jason Clark was tied with Logan Thomsen 3-3 in the first period before Thomsen got a late takedown and held on for a 7-3 win at 157. Jake Mize led Brady Meyer 2-1 after the first period but couldn't score again in a 5-2 loss at 165.
"We have to learn. We have to grow. We have to build," Hansen said.
Simpson goes to Cedar Rapids for the Coe Turkey Invitational on Saturday, Nov. 19.
#1 Wartburg 41, Simpson 4
125—#4 Arnulfo Olea (WAR) pins Clayton Fenzl, 4:27
133—Dusten Reed (WAR) won by forfeit
141—Zach Johnston (SIM) major dec. #7 Connor Campo, 16-8
149—#7 Cross Cannone (WAR) dec. Jason Kiehne, 8-5
157—Logan Thomsen (WAR) dec. Jason Clark, 7-3
165—Brady Meyer (WAR) dec. Jake Mize, 5-2
174—#2 Eric DeVos tech. fall Austin Stotts, 23-7 (6:10)
184—#4 Bryan Levsen tech. fall Noah Robinson, 19-10 (4:34)
197—#5 Kyle Fank tech. fall DeVaughn Scott, 17-0 (2:46)
285—#2 Lance Evans tech. fall Colby Vlieger, 18-0 (5:32)
Rankings are NWCA