Lourdes wrestler Nick Henneman heads to NAIA nationals

The National Association of Intercolle-giate Athletics announced that Lourdes University wrestler Nick Henneman (Clay) has earned a berth to the 2021 NAIA Wrestling National Championships.

He will be joined by Lourdes wrestlers Jimmy Balazy (Parma Padua Franciscan), Blake Montrie (Bedford, Mich.), Noah Clary (Upper Sandusky), and Alec Moore-Nash (Cincinnati Elder). The 64th annual event takes place March 5-6 at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.

Henneman is 2-1 for the Gray Wolves at 141 pounds.  The redshirt-junior is a three-time NAIA national qualifier, earning All-American honors when he finished fourth in 2019.

The five wrestlers that qualified match a school record for Lourdes as the Gray Wolves also took five grapplers in 2019.  Last year, the Gray Wolves took a pair of wrestlers, and finished in 34th place overall.

This year, Henneman placed second in the league and earned second team All Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference honors and Lourdes coach Dock Kelly III was named the Coach of Character. Henneman was among seven total Gray Wolves to earn league awards and he was also named to the league’s Champions of Character Team.

Lourdes finished third as a team at the league’s inaugural championships held inside the Russell J. Ebeid Recreation Center.

Lourdes posted 123½ points, adding three conference runners-up in addition to one league champion.  Indiana Tech took home the team title with 163½ points while Marian was second with 144 points.  Rochester (Mich.) placed fourth with 70½ points.  

“This was an exciting conference tournament and I’m so proud of the way that our guys competed,” Kelly said.  “While it was a challenge to prepare to host this tournament I must give credit to coach Louis Piszker for having our guys ready to wrestle under these unique circumstances.”

Henneman picked up a decision in the semifinals of 141 pounds before falling in a tie-breaker against Blake Mulkey of Marian 8-5 in the championship.

“We will take a few days off and then begin our preparations for the national tournament,” Kelly concluded.  “I am confident that our guys will be ready to meet the challenge.”

Last year, Henneman qualified for nationals at 141 pounds, going 2-2, after leading the team with a 21-3 record. He was named Sooner Athletic Conference Wrestler of the Year after winning a league championship, was an All-SAC selections, and SAC Wrestler of the Week and NAIA National Wrestler of the Week in early February. He won six matches by fall, four by technical fall and five by major decision.

In 2018-19, he also qualified for All-American honors at 141 pounds after posting a 14-5 record with seven falls, two by technical fall and two by major deicision. He placed fourth at the NAIA championships, was runner-up at the SAC championships and earned SAC and NAIA Wrestler of the Week almost exactly one year to the date prior to winning it last year. (— by Lourdes University SID Ryan Wronkowicz and Press Sports Editor J. Patrick Eaken)







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