CU grapplers place 3rd in Des Moines

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CU grapplers place 3rd in Des Moines

Jake Williams won all four of his bouts over the weekend, all against ranked opponents, helping CU to a third-place finish at the NWCA National Duals. Tim Tushla photo

DES MOINES, IA -- Cody Linton’s Major Decision over No. 3 Kamron Jackson at 184 and Tyler Smith’s 13-6 Decision versus No. 7 David Lopez, capped a huge weekend for eighth-ranked Cumberland, as the Bulldogs stormed back for a 20-18 victory over No. 4 University of Great Falls, and also defeated No. 2 Montana State-Northern for a third-place finish at the NWCA National Duals in Des Moines, Iowa.

Cumberland started the weekend with a 31-6 victory over Concordia [NE] University before upsetting MSU-Northern, 22-16, on Saturday afternoon, putting the Bulldogs into the semifinals against conference rival and seventh-ranked Lindsey Wilson. The Blue Raiders got the best of CU, 35-12, on Sunday morning, but the Bulldogs bounced back with the come-from-behind 20-18 triumph over Great Falls.

CU trailed 18-9 after eighth-ranked Kirk Johnson dropped a 3-0 Decision to Great Falls’ No. 11 Shawn Lau at 165, but senior and fifth-ranked Zeke Hunt began the comeback with a 5-2 Decision versus Taylor Vaughn at 174.

Linton, ranked fourth nationally, at 184, recorded an 11-3 Major Decision against Jackson before No. 12 Scott Stewart followed with another Major, 16-7, over Dylan Lemery at 197, pulling the Bulldogs within 18-17 and setting up the final match at heavyweight.

Smith, a sophomore, came through for CU with a 13-6 Decision over No. 7 Lopez, finishing off an undefeated weekend for the Calhoun, Ga., native after he won a 5-3 Decision in the second overtime versus Concordia’s Ceron Francisco and posted a 5-3 Decision against MSU-Northern’s Jorrell Jones.

Linton also won all three of his outings, the other two with pins, taking down Concordia’s Kale Hintz in 1:36 and MSU-Northern’s fourth-ranked Tony Cheff in 2:23 at 197. Stewart finished 3-0 as well, registering a 5-3 Decision versus Concordia‘s Ken Burkhardt and picking up a Forfeit against Lindsey Wilson.

Jake Williams, ranked No. 4 nationally at 149 and seeing his first varsity action of the academic year, did not disappoint, collecting victories in all four of his bouts. The redshirt junior posted a 4-2 Decision over Concordia’s No. 10 Enrique Barajas, won a 16-4 Major Decision versus MSU-Northern’s ninth-ranked Hunter Azure, recorded a 9-5 Decision against Lindsey Wilson’s Isaac Thomas and pinned Chase Burns from Great Falls in 4:21.

Cumberland returns to action Friday, Jan. 17 with a home dual match against No. 5 Campbellsville University before hosting the Cumberland Open on Saturday at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.