CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Heidelberg University wrestler Justin Kihn capped off an incredible senior season with an All-American fourth place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships. Kihn was one of four HU wrestlers competing at the tournament.
Kihn becomes the 14th person in Heidelberg history to climb the podium at Nationals as an All-American.
141 - Justin Kihn: As the No. 5 seed, Kihn started the meet with a 5-3 win over Brendon Seyfried (Williams). Kihn then toppled Michael Venezia (Wabash), 6-2, which assured him an All-American finish.
On Saturday, Kihn fell to No. 1 seed Drew Van Anrooy (Luther), 2-0. The only points scored came on an escape and riding time. The loss forced the reigning OAC Wrestler of the Year into the consolation bracket. There, he beat No. 7 seed Chris Williams (Millikin), 11-4. In the third place match, Kihn lost to No. 3 seed Nathaniel Behnke (UW-Eau Claire).
"We are very proud of Justin," said head coach Tony Patrizi, who has mentored an All-American in each of his two seasons. "He had an unbelievable year and a great run. He exemplifies everything that I want to see in a Heidelberg wrestler."
149 - Damon Cheek: Cheek, an unseeded senior, went 0-2 in his first trip to Nationals. He nearly upset No. 8 seed Daniel Downes (Roger Williams) in the opener, but fell late, 7-5. In the wrestlebacks, he faced No. 1 seed Derek Arnold (Ursinus) who was upset in the first round. Arnold emerged with a 7-1 win.
165 - Aaron Banko: Also making his first trip to Nationals, Banko went 0-2. The unseeded Heidelberg senior got caught in his first round opponent, Eric Hensel (Augsburg). In the consolations, Banko also had to face a No. 1 seed. Farai Sewera (Coe) beat Banko by a technical fall.
184 - Dillen Decker: Decker, a freshman, went 2-2 in his Nationals debut. Decker was stuck in his opener to No. 4 seed AJ Kowal (Stevens), which forced him into a pigtail. He beat McBroom (CEIA), 9-1, to advance. There, he won again, defeating Logan Walkup (Wheaton), 11-7. Carlos Torbio (Ithaca) cut Decker's run one win shy of the podium with an 11-2 major.