March 12, 2016
Dierna, Malmberg national champs
SUNY Cortland’s Bobby Dierna gets his hand raised after earning a 7-5 decision over Wartburg’s Drew Wagenhoffer to win the NCAA Division III wrestling title at 157 pounds Saturday in Iowa.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A couple of determined junior wrestlers lived up to their top billing at the NCAA Division III Championships on Saturday.
SUNY Cortland’s Bobby Dierna at 157 pounds and Messiah College’s Lucas Malmberg — a former two-time high school state champion during his scholastic days at Marathon Central — at 125 pounds emerged as national champions Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Top-seed Dierna came up with a 7-5 victory over third-seed Drew Wagenhoffer out of Wartburg in the 157-pound final, giving the Red Dragons back-to-back national champions. Teammate Joe Giaramita won the title at 197 pounds a year ago, and the senior finished his Cortland career grabbing third place over the weekend in that same division.
Dierna concluded the season 24-2, featuring 10 pins. He also raised his career record to 85-9.
After back-to-back second place showings the past two seasons, top-seed Malmberg was at his dominant best in the 125-pound finals where he decisioned unseeded CJ Pestano from Central Iowa 14-6 for take the title.
Malmberg finished with a 42-3 record on the season for the No. 4 nationally-ranked Falcons out of Pennsylvania.
Cortland finished seventh as a team with 35.5 points. Wartburg won the team title with 129.5 points followed by Messiah (100), Luther (64), Wabash (55.5) and Augsburg (46.5).
The top-10 team showing was the Red Dragons’ 12th overall and fourth in the last five years.
— After posting a pair of wins on Friday, Dierna captured an 8-2 decision over unseeded Tristan Zurfluh of Luther in Saturday’s semifinal match to advance to the finals for the second time. A Webster native who attended Wayne High School, Dierna was a runner-up at 149 pounds in 2014 and placed third in that weight class in 2013.
In the championship bout, Dierna took a 2-0 lead with a first-period takedown before a Wagenhoffer escape made it 2-1 heading into the second period. The only point scored in the second period was an escape by Wagenhoffer, sending the bout to the final period tied at 2-2.
Dierna registered a quick reversal to start the third period, and Wagenhoffer’s escape left Dierna with a 4-3 lead. Wagenhoffer then earned a takedown to go ahead, 5-4, but Dierna worked his second reversal of the match to regain the advantage at 6-5.
Dierna rode out Wagenhoffer to add a riding-time point to secure the 7-5 decision and Cortland’s sixth individual national title.
— Messiah’s Malmberg had three victories on Friday before dominating Arnulfo Olea of Wartburg 8-1 in the semifinals.
In the title match against Pestano, a takedown five seconds into the match got Malmberg going. After Pestano escaped, Malmberg perfected an ankle pick for another takedown to pull ahead of Pestano 4-1. When Pestano escaped again, Malmberg used his scrambling abilities to secure another takedown at the edge of the match to conclude the first period.
The start of the second period had Pestano escape and Malmberg score another takedown. Pestano managed to escape again, but Malmberg took an 8-4 lead lead into the final period.
During the third period Malmberg escaped and quickly scored a takedown for a commanding 11-4 lead. Pestano escaped once more and Malmberg kept attacking with a single leg to secure his final takedown of the match.
— Cortland’s Giaramita, the third seed, lost a 10-3 decision to second-seeded Gerard Roman of Wartburg in the semifinals.
Battling back in the consolation semifinals, Giaramita earned a 4-1 decision over Merchant Marine’s Ricky Fisher before upending fourth-seeded Angus Arthur of Adrian 8-4 in the consolation finals to finish third.
Top-seed David Welch from Roger Williams finished off a 41-0 campaign by beating Roman in the title match, winning a 5-4 decision.
Giaramita became Cortland’s second four-time All-American, having previously placed eighth at 285 pounds in 2012 and sixth at 197 pounds in 2013 before capturing the 197-pound national title last year.
He finished the season with a 36-6 record and posted a 129-26 career record, surpassing the 128 wins recorded by Paul LeBlanc from 2005-09.
— On Friday, two Cortland wrestlers completed their seasons. Junior Andrew Roden went 0-2 at 125 pounds to finish the season 15-15. Senior Lou Puca posted a 1-2 record and ended his season with a 31-4 record, moving into third place in career wins and finished 118-30 overall and tied for fourth in career falls with 43.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe