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Davis finishes eighth in first appearance
DES MOINES, Iowa—Ethan Owen knew what Saturday at NAIA Nationals felt like.
A year ago, the first-time All-American went 0-2 during the final day of action and placed eighth. A year stronger and smarter, the junior finished third.
“When you are more familiar, you are a lot less nervous,” said Owen. “Being here two years before this and knowing how it goes and what it’s going it be like puts you at peace a little bit.”
Owen defeated Jaedin Skalpsky of Campbellsville in sudden victory, 9-2 to get to the top six. The seventh-seeded wrestler then took on fourth-seeded Gaige Torres of Indiana Tech, whom Owen lost to at the NWCA Duals. This time, Owen came away with an 11-8 win scoring a reversal in each period, plus two takedowns and a riding time bonus.
“We didn’t win a lot of matches on Saturday last year, so that was a big focus in our training this year,” said coach Javier Maldonado. “We kept reminding them how it felt and why we train the way we did.”
In the third-place match, Owen took on Nick Henneman, the first All-American in Lourdes’ history, and scored a 5-3 win, getting a takedown with 45 seconds left for the win.
This marks the highest finish in program history by an individual at the tournament.
Sophomore Jason Davis placed eighth in his first appearance at nationals. In his fifth-round consolation match, he dropped a 7-1 decision to eighth-seeded Brooks Climmons of Brewton-Parker, the dropped a 4-0 decision to Tyler Hall of Embry-Riddle (Ariz.).
“Jason wreslted tough all weekend,” said Maldonado. “He was in every match; a takedown here and the matches are different. He wrestled well for his first time here and I’m excited to see what he does next year.”
The Fire finished 19th with 26 team points.