Kerkhoff and Garcia Take Sixth at NCAA Regionals

Kerkhoff and Garcia Take Sixth at NCAA Regionals

Senior Ernesto Garcia and sophomore Brad Kerkhoff  capped off the NCAA Central Regional Tournament on Saturday with sixth place finishes to help lead the Buena Vista wrestling team.

Garcia advanced into the semifinal round of the 125-pound bracket before suffering his first loss of the day, an 8-1 setback to eventual champion, CJ Pestano of Central College.  He then suffered a tough 16-1 technical fall in the consolation semifinals before being edged, 7-4, in the consolation finals to Luther's Connor Murphy, whom he edged, 10-9, to advance into the semifinals.

Kerkhoff received a pair of byes to begin his day at 157 pounds, but fell in the quarterfinals to third-ranked Logan Thomsen of Wartburg, 9-2.  He made a run at a national tournament bid from the consolation bracket, winning by fall in his first match before capturing a thrilling 9-8 triumph.  His bid came to an end with a 13-2 loss in the consolation semifinals before losing a heartbreaking, 11-9 sudden victory, to finish sixth.

Garcia ends his final collegiate season at 16-12 while Kerkhoff closes out his sophomore campaign at 18-14.

Senior Andrew Nelson (165lbs) got his day started with a pin in his first match before suffering an 11-2 loss in the quarterfinals to top-seed Andrew Steiret of Wartburg.  He bounced back in his first consolation match with a 9-5 victory before having his day end with a 12-6 loss in the consolation quarterfinals.  He also finished the year with 18 wins.

Riley Altenburg (133lbs) joined Garcia, Kerkhoff and Nelson in the quarterfinals without wrestling a match.  He received a first round by and then was awarded a forfeit to reach the quarterfinals.  After suffering a technical fall in the quarterfinals, he kept his day alive with a strong 12-8 decision in his first consolation match before ending his day in the second.

Shane Vaughan dropped his first match of the day before bouncing back with a pair of pins before losing a thrilling 4-3 decisions in the consolation quarterfinals to end his day.

As a team, Buena Vista tallied 28.5 points and finished 11th in the 15-team field.

Wartburg College cruised to the overall team title with 190 points, finishing 67.5 points in front of runner-up Loras.  Central and Coe tied for third with 111.5 points.