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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU wrestling caps off 2023-24 campaign with finishes at NCAA championships

The Eagles saw a variety of wrestlers step up to fill voids as the team looks to graduate important seniors this spring
Eagle wrestler Daniel Beemer caps off his final collegiate season. He finished with 104 college wins in his career. (Retrieved with permission from Ashland University Athletics)

PARK CITY, Kan. – It takes just one off day for an entire season to come to a close.

For the Ashland University wrestling team, all five of their athletes were knocked out of the 2023-24 NCAA Division II wrestling championships on the opening day of competition. Heading onto the grand stage on Friday, March 15, the Eagles were slotted No. 12 in the nation.

Kicking things off in the championships, the Eagles’ No. 9-ranked Luke Acuna finished 0-2 in the 125-pound weight class. Coming out of the NCAA Super Region 3, he was crowned champion of his weight class while going 3-0.

However, even with incredible momentum entering the championships, the redshirt freshman was unable to replicate his prior success. With a tremendous start to his collegiate career, he will look to continue to be the Eagles’ lead wrestler in the 125-pound weight class.

In the 157-pound weight class, Drew Wiechers entered the championships ranked No. 6 in the nation.

At the championships, he was able to open things up with a 20-9 major decision over Central Missouri wrestler Anthony Erickson. Although he opened things up with a win, he was later eliminated after suffering losses in the quarterfinal round and second round of the consolation bracket.

Prior to the championships, Wiechers took third place at the Super Region 3 championship, going 3-1 for the Eagles. All three of his wins came from pins.

As a graduate student, the 2023-24 campaign marked the final collegiate campaign for him, as he finished with a Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) title, multiple All-Great Midwest honors and D-II All-American honors.

At 165 pounds, the Eagles saw redshirt sophomore Sevriano Garza finish with a record of 2-2.

He was able to earn a pin in 4:02 over UNC Pembroke wrestler Caleb Grau. Alongside taking down Grau, Garza also took home a major decision win over Emmanuel University wrestler Christian Trimble.

Unfortunately, just like his teammates, Garza would be knocked out after falling in the championship first round and consolation second round.

The other redshirt sophomore for the Eagles, No. 10-ranked Nate Barrett, participated in the championships at the 174-pound weight class.

Barrett, who had a stellar campaign up until the championships, struggled to find his footing as he went 0-2. Before competing in the championships, he was able to finish second in his weight class at the Super Region 3 championship.

To round things off for the Eagles, No. 2-ranked graduate Daniel Beemer went 1-2 in Kansas. He was able to find a dominating 19-3 technical fall win over Millersville University wrestler Anthony Giampietro, but losses in the quarterfinal and the second round of consolations ended his day prematurely.

Beemer, one of the more decorated wrestlers in AU history, capped off his collegiate career with 104 wins.

“For 14 years wrestling stuck by my side as I navigated through life and loss,” said Beemer on social media. “From the moment I started, wrestling gave me control of my life. It taught me discipline, growth, and humility.”

Along with his 100+ win total, he was a two-time D-II All-American, four-time National Qualifier and three-time Academic All-American.

“Every choice and decision was a battle. Nothing was guaranteed let alone deserved,” he said. “I destroyed others’ goals to achieve my own. I could have walked away after I graduated, after the surgeries, after taking on a full-time job, and no one would blame me. Yet I found a way. I loved every second of it.”

His career will come to a close with a number of personal accolades and high-level experience underneath his belt. The Eagles will certainly have a tough task filling the void he will leave both in the locker room and on the mat.

The Eagles now gear up for the 2024-25 campaign, where they will look to new faces to lead the 157 and 184 weight classes.

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