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Stephens Advances to Nationals


March 3, 2003


       Southern Illinois University Edwardsville senior Zach Stephens (St. Charles, Mo.) won the 174-pound division at this past weekend's NCAA Division II Midwest Wrestling Regionals and has qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships to be held March 14-15 in Wheeling, W.V.
       Stephens, currently ranked third in the nation at 174 pounds, won all three of his matches at the regional tournament. He defeated Jason Tapio of Central Oklahoma, the fourth-ranked wrestler at 174 pounds, 7-4 in the finals.
       "Zach wrestled tough," Coach Booker Benford said. "It's good that he's beating these good wrestlers by more than a point. He needs to keep up his intensity while he prepares for nationals."
       Aaron Wiens (Cicero) was the only other Cougar to finish among the placewinners. His sixth-place finish at heavyweight, however, did not qualify him for the national tournament.
              -siue cougars-