MERLINA SAN NICOLAS | Reporter
For the first time since joining the NCAA, the Lindenwood wrestling team hosted 10 teams to compete for individual spots in the NCAA Championships.
The Lions finished second as a team with 123.5 points with three Lions winning in their respective weight classes and seven overall qualifying for nationals on Saturday at Hyland Arena.
No.1 Carlos Jacquez entered the competition as the leader of the 125 pound weight class and according to the Lindenwood Lions website, Jacquez is also the third most dominant wrestler in all NCAA Division II and earned the 2018-2019 dual meet champion.
Jacquez kept his winning streak untouched 3-0 in brackets to become the regional NCAA champion and earn his spot at nationals.
Freshman No. 8 Tanner Hitchcock also came out as the champion of the 135 pound weight class, winning every match in the bracket.
“I was nervous the whole day, to be honest,” Hitchcock said. “Right before the matches I had butterflies, my heart [was] pounding but I knew in myself that I could win this tournament so I just believed in myself.”
No. 9 Courvoisier Morrow won in overtime 3-1 in the championship match to give the Lions the extra boost to finish second as a team, just behind McKendree with 135 points.
Kyle Jolas took second while Danny Swann, Gavin Londoff and Jared Mckindley finished third to earn their tickets to the NCAA National Championships.
The seven advancing Lions will travel to Cleveland, Ohio, on March 8 to compete for a national title.