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Cougars Boast Five Champions at NCWA North Central Conference Meet

Feb. 26, 2011

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville wrestling finished with five champions Saturday as it played host to the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) North Central Conference Championships at the Vadalabene Center.

The Cougars were edged out in the team title race 214.5-200 by Grand Valley State, which also had five champions.

"I think we actually performed better than what I expected. I knew some weights were going to tough," said SIUE Head Coach David Ray.

SIUE's champions included John Petrov at 133 pounds, Isaac Ervin at 157 pounds, Gabe Hocum at 165 pounds, Michael Dace at 174 pounds, and David Devine at 285 pounds.

The Cougars actually had six more finalists. Some of those wrestlers did not count in the team score since they were not slated as a scorer before the meet began. Each team is allowed one scorer per weight class. Runner-ups included Paul Myers 125 pounds, Derrick Pousson at 149 pounds, Kyle Lowman at 157 pounds, Steve Ross at 165 pounds, Deshoun White at 174 pounds, and Robert Cooney at 197 pounds.

Also advancing to the national meet was Lawrence Blackful (third at 141 pounds), Eric Biehl (fifth at 141 pounds), and Terrance Connors (fourth at 184 pounds).

"They wrestled hard and with intensity. It was a good day," said Ray. "I think SIUE did a good job of running this tournament so my hats off to all the people who helped out."

After Grand Valley and SIUE, it was Cincinnati in third with 78.5 pounds followed by Wayne State (76), Oakland (69), Dayton (55), Illinois State (52), Bowling Green State (49.5), Mott Community College (45), Winona State (34), Ohio State (21.5), Northland International (15.5), Southern Indiana (13.5), Toledo (12.5), Michigan (12), Minnesota-Duluth (8.5), and Lansing Community College (6).

Mott was the only other school to walk away with a title as Hermon Gillum III won at 125 pounds.

"My hats off to Grand Valley State. They ended up with 10 in the top three and we ended up with nine. That made up the difference in points,"

The 14 Cougars who finished among the leaders Saturday now have just less than two weeks to prepare for the NCWA National Tournament which will be held in Macon, Ga., Mar. 10-12.

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