The St. Olaf wrestling team qualified two wrestlers for the NCAA Championships after stellar performances at the NCAA West Regional Qualifiers on Feb. 27, hosted by Augsburg College in Minneapolis. The top three finishers in each weight class earn a bid to the NCAA Championships.
Garrett Beaman ’19 finished first in the 174 lbs. weight class after defeating Wisconsin-Platteville’s Jon Goetz in a 3-1 decision. Beaman entered the qualifiers with a record of 37-5, with all five of his losses coming at the hands of Division II opponents. His record granted him a first round bye before his 5-2 decision over Pacific University’s Tyler Howe. Beaman went on to defeat Austin Boniface of Augsburg College with a technical fall at the 3:31 mark before heading onto his championship victory. The win now puts Beaman’s overall record at 40-5 before he heads on to the NCAA Championships. With an impressive undefeated streak in Division III matchups, Beaman is an early favorite to be named the individual champion at the 174 lbs. weight class, a feat which few freshmen are able to claim.
Zach Gibson ’16 also qualified for the NCAA Championships after a second place finish at regionals in the 285 lbs. weight class. Gibson entered the meet with a 22-9 record, winning his first round bout against Concordia University of Wisconsin’s John Hinson with a 7-2 decision. Gibson went on to win 6-3 in his second round match before heading to the championship round. Despite success in his earlier rounds, Gibson fell short of first place after losing to Augsburg’s Donny Longendyke in a 4-0 decision. Gibson will head into the NCAA Championships with a 25-10 record.
Sam Almousa ’18 also competed at regionals, entering the competition with a 13-12 record. After a first round bye, Almousa lost his second round match to Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s Joe Pelkey, with a final decision of 14-10. Almousa won his next round match 8-4, placing him in fifth overall in the 157 lbs. weight class, just outside the qualifying zone.
Beaman and Gibson will head to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 11-12 to compete in the NCAA Championships and try to capitalize on a succesful regular season.