MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Blugolds.com) – Two UW-Eau Claire wrestlers have qualified for the 2014 NCAA Division III Championship, which will be contested March 14-15 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after competing at the NCAA West Regional at Augsburg College (Minn.) today.
Both Nathaniel Behnke (So.-Bruce, Wis.) and Ryan Seidler (Sr.-Adams, Wis./Adams-Friendship) qualified for nationals after finishing in first and third in their respective weight classes. This is the second year in a row Behnke qualified for nationals while Seidler will be making his first appearance. It's also the second straight year two Blugolds will be competing at the national championship.
Behnke, competing at 141 pounds, opened the day with a bye and then won three straight to capture the 141-pound title. In the championship match, Behnke defeated Ben Henle from Saint John's University (Minn.) 5-4 for the win. In the semifinal he won 5-3 and won by fall in 2:42 in the quarterfinal match.
At 149 pounds, Seidler also started with a bye and then won his first match 7-6 before losing the following match. Seidler was able to then win 15-13 in overtime to advance to the third-place match and won 9-5 over Pacific University's Ryan Baxter to take third place and qualify for nationals. The top three in each weight class qualify for the NCAA Championship.
Of the Blugolds' non-qualifiers, Luke Ortscheid (Sr.-Wausau, Wis./West) had the best finish as he took sixth place at 184 pounds.