3.15.10 | Wrestling
Baker wrestlers close out inaugural season at NAIA Championships
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Baker University completed its inaugural wrestling season this past week at the 53rd Annual NAIA National Championships on the campus of Oklahoma City University. The Wildcats qualified 10 wrestlers for the championships. The Baker wrestlers placed 28th out of 38 teams in the competition.
The Wildcats were led by senior Levi Calhoun (285, Oklahoma City). Calhoun opend the championships with a huge victory over the fifth-rated heavyweight in the nation from the University of Great Falls. Calhoun followed up that victory with a second-round 3-2 decision over Willie Hernandez from Jamestown College. With that win, Calhoun advanced to the quarterfinals against Chas Maloch from McKendree College. Calhoun was 1-1 against Maloch during the regular season before losing a hard-fought battle 5-3 in the quarters.
Two other Baker wrestlers would come within two matches of gaining All-American status. Freshman Joe Pace (174, Platte City, Mo.) and Jacob Nowak (197, Overland Park, Kan.) were eliminated in the consolation rounds. Pace would earn a rematch against Missouri Valley senior Preston McKinney, the 2009 NAIA national runner-up who had defeated Pace in the finals of the Wildcat Open earlier this season. Pace defeated McKinney 10-3 at the NAIA tournament.
Nowak won a double-overtime thriller over returning All-American Ike Okenwa from Missouri Baptist University. Nowak was eliminated 2-1 in the next round by David Dill from California Baptist University.
Overall, the Wildcat wrestling program gained valuable experience at this year’s national championships. With a very young team, the Baker wrestlers will harness this experience and build on it, looking forward to the 2011 NAIA National Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
View the full results here.