PUEBLO, Colo. – Frank Morgan and Tywan Claxton completed their stay at the NCAA Division II National Championships in Pueblo, Colo. on Saturday, earning All-American honors and top-8 finishes in their respective weight classes. The foursome of Tornado grapplers that competed in the national tournament helped King onto a 22nd place finish overall in the team scores.
Frank Morgan fought tooth and nail throughout the second day and faced a tough task by opening the day with No. 2 Luke McPeek (Adams State). In a low-scoring match, the Maynardville, Tenn., native found himself down 2-1 after the second period. With determination and one last push inside the final 40 seconds of the third period, Morgan tied it up and took the advantage. Riding time sided with McPeek and he rode the time down, leading to a 3-2 decision and sending Morgan into the consolation rounds. McPeek went on to win the championship in the 197-pound bracket.
The senior 197 pounder was paired up against Lucas Munkewitz. Morgan was downed by the third-ranked grappler from St. Cloud State University, 4-1, and was placed in the fifth place match against Shane Nolan of UNC-Pembroke. Morgan wasted no time and delivered Nolan his second consecutive shutout loss in a 13-0 major decision. The win placed Morgan fifth overall in the 197-pound weight class in a well-deserved All-American run to cap off his career.
The wave of the future of King Men's Wrestling in the form of Tywan Claxton also earned an All-American distinction with a seventh place overall finish in the 141-pound weight class. The freshman from Cleveland, Ohio entered the tournament ranked sixth in the nation and rebounded after a first-day defeat in his second bout on Friday. After going 2-1 on the opening day, Claxton was placed in the consolation quarterfinal and pitted against Daniel Ownbey of UNC-Pembroke.
Claxton started strong and took a 5-4 lead late in the third period, but Ownbey tied the match with seconds remaining and forced an overtime session. The two squared off for a scheduled two-minute overtime though Ownbey ended the match with a takedown to win, 7-5. Ownbey went on to finish third overall.
In his seventh place match, Claxton took on Aaron Smith (AIC) and earned a shutout win, 3-0. With the win, he claimed a seventh place overall finish and All-American status in just his first year with the program.
Morgan now becomes a two-time All-American and now has earned honors in both the NAIA and NCAA ranks. He was the last King wrestler to garner All-American status after earning National runner-up (NAIA) as a sophomore season at 197 pounds.
Tywan Claxton become the first King men's wrestler to earn All-American honors as a freshman. The duo has now become the first Tornado wrestlers to garner NCAA Division II All-American status since the transition from NAIA to NCAA nearly three years ago.
King placed 22nd overall as a team, earning 15.5 points over the weekend.
The University of Nebraska-Kearney won the overall team championship with 107.0 points, edging out St. Cloud State University (95.0).
A complete list of the Division II individual medalists are featured below.
125: 1st, Kyle Mccrite (GCU); 2nd, Cody Lensing (AUG); 3rd, Dave Fogle (UPJ)
133: 1st, Trevor Franklin (UIU); 2nd, Andrew Pokorny (SCSU); 3rd, Ryan Fillingame (ASC)
141: 1st, Dalton Jensen (UNK);2nd, William Young (NEWB); 3rd, Daniel Ownbey (UNCP); Tywan Claxton (7th)
149: 1st, Raufeon Stots (UNK); 2nd, John Hagerty (MU); 3rd, Bobby Ward (GCU)
157: 1st, T.J. Hepburn (UNK); 2nd, Jarrod Shaw (WLU), 3rd, Dillon Bera (UWP)
165: 1st, Mike Williams (UNCP); 2nd, Mason True (UF); 3rd, Tad Merritt (SCSU)
174: 1st, Victor Carazo (GCU); 2nd, Luke Rynish (UWP); 3rd, Elliot Copeland (WSC)
184: 1st, Derek Skala (SCSU); 2nd, Adam Walters (UF); 3rd, Ross Brunkhardt (UNK)
197: 1st, Luke McPeek (ASC); 2nd, Dan Scanlan (LC); 3rd, Eddie Ebewo (ESU); Frank Morgan (5th)
285: 1st, Matthew Meuleners (NSU); 2nd Jake Kahnke (SCSU); 3rd, Jacob Southwick (AU)