DUBUQUE, Iowa — Colby Vlieger and Jason Kiehne finished one win shy of a trip to nationals as each placed fourth to lead the Simpson wrestling team at the 2017 NCAA Central Region Championships from the Five Flags Center.
Simpson finished ninth in the 15-team region with 46.5 points, the program's best-ever finish. The Storm came in sixth of nine Iowa Conference programs.
A senior 285-pounder, Vlieger posted four wins on the day, but in the end he couldn't get past Loras' Quin Gilliam.
He beat Coe's Garrett Kelson 4-1 to start the day before his first meeting with a Gilliam, a major decision. Vlieger navigated the consolation bracket by pinning Nick Mitchell (Buena Vista), getting a major decision over Jordan Hill (Dubuque) and edging Keenan Feldpausch (Luther) 5-3.
Vlieger met up with Gilliam for the second time in the consolation final, but the result was similar as the Loras heavyweight scored a first-period pin. Vlieger closed his senior season 26-12.
Simpson's surprise story of the season, Kiehne ended the year two points shy of a trip to the national tournament.
The junior 141-pounder -- who is in his final year due to early graduation -- breezed through to the semifinals with a pin and a technical fall. Third-ranked Cross Cannone (Wartburg) handed Kiehne an 8-4 loss, moving him to the consolation bracket.
Needing a win to get to the consolation final, Kiehne trailed Sam Uthoff (Coe) 14-6 in third period before getting a crucial pin. He faced a familiar foe in the third-place match, falling to Daniel Radcliffe (Central) 7-5.
SENIORS BID FAREWELL
Seniors Anthony Derrick, Jason Clark, Jake Mize and Colby Vlieger along with Jason Kiehne took the mat for the final time in their careers. The group endured a 3-14 season in their first year and an 11th place finish of 11 teams at the regional. This year the Storm went 6-9 and placed ninth of 15 teams.
125 — Jacob Irwin, 0-2
141 — Jason Kiehne, 3-2 | 4th place
149 — Anthony Derrick, 0-2
157 — Jason Clark, 2-2
165 — Jake Mize, 0-2
174 — RJ Brown, 2-2
184 — Noah Robinson, 1-2
197 — DeVaughn Scott, 1-2
285 — Colby Vlieger, 4-2 | 4th place