Henneman, Anderson put Lourdes on national stage

J. Patrick Eaken & Ryan Wronkowicz

Two former Clay wrestlers, redshirt sophomore Nick Henneman and sophomore Garret Anderson, are playing major roles in getting the Lourdes University wrestling team on to the national stage.
        “Nick Henneman and Garret Anderson are phenomenal student-athletes who have both played vital roles in the national recognition for the Lourdes University wrestling program. They both have unparalleled work ethics, which has made an incredible impact on the entire team,” Lourdes coach Dock Kelly III said.
        “Nick and Garret’s impact on the Lourdes University wrestling program has been huge. The key to being a successful collegiate wrestling program is that you have to be able to keep recruiting the locally talented guys in your area. This will attract equally talented wrestlers to come and join what we have built here in Sylvania.”
Lourdes was invited to the NWCA/NAIA National Duals inside the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. for the first time in program history, but dropped matches to sixth-ranked Baker and 16th-ranked Missouri Valley before finishing with a victory over Brewton-Parker.
“This tournament is as tough as it was advertised to be,” Kelly said.  “We allowed several opportunities to elude us today, and that is very disappointing.  We have to learn from the adversity that we experienced today in order to achieve our remaining goals for the season.”
The 18th-ranked Gray Wolves suffered a 35-14 decision against Baker in the opening round before dropping a heart-breaking 24-23 consolation round match to Missouri Valley in a contest that was decided via criteria, with the Vikings winning 39-38 on total points.  Lourdes concluded the tournament with a 28-12 win over Brewton-Parker.
        Lourdes fell behind 7-0 to Baker after two bouts before Henneman scored a 9-0 major decision at 141 pounds to put the Gray Wolves on the scoreboard.  Trailing 13-4 heading into 157 pounds, Anderson won via fall at the 3:56 mark midway in the second period.
        Lourdes had to rally in the final match of the day against Brewton-Parker.  The Barons opened with three decisions in the first four bouts with only Henneman being awarded a forfeit at 141 pounds for Lourdes' early points.  Anderson recorded his second fall of the day 21 seconds into the second period to put the Gray Wolves in front 12-9 at the midway point.
        “It was great to finish on a winning note,” Kelly added.  “It is imperative that we get mentally and physically prepared for the Missouri Valley Invitational next weekend.” 
        Kelly returned 20 wrestlers from last year’s squad, which set a school record with eight dual victories while finishing fourth in the Sooner Athletic Conference.  The Gray Wolves excelled in the postseason, sending five grapplers to the NAIA National Championship while producing the first All-American in program history and finishing the year 25th nationally.  Kelly has added 10 new wrestlers to the squad as well this year, and the depth and experience should lead to an exciting season.
Henneman returns for his second season at 141 pounds.  He entered the season ranked second nationally after finishing last year with a 14-5 mark with seven falls and has moved up to No. 1 in the rankings. Henneman is on a mission to earn the school’s first national title this year. This year he is 12-1 with four falls, one technical fall and three major decisions.
        “Nick Henneman is an elite athlete, and his lofty national ranking is proof that he will be a perennial threat to win an individual national title every year. His wrestling IQ is off the charts, and his sheer will to win is unmatched. Nick is very respectful, humble, and he is a model citizen. I am most proud of Nick for the way that he has worked equally as hard in the classroom to maintain a 3.0 grade point average,” Kelly said.
Anderson has grown into the 157-pound weight class comfortably and Coach Kelly expects big things from him this year.  Anderson recorded a team-leading 10 falls last year while posting a 13-12 record overall, wrestling a majority of his matches down one weight class. This year, he is 10-5 with five falls and one major decision.
        “Garret Anderson is a hard-working student-athlete that is no non-sense. He does everything that is asked of him, and he works hard both on the wrestling mat and in the classroom. He is committed to getting better every day, and that is apparent in how his wrestling has continued to improve,” Kelly said.
More ranked competition
        Lourdes does not have an easy schedule, either, taking on ranked opponents from the NAIA and NCAA all season. Earlier this season, Lourdes dropped matches to 17th-ranked Indiana Tech 39-7 and fourth-ranked Marian 32-16 before rebounding to close the Warrior Duals with a 33-24 victory over Thomas More on Saturday afternoon inside the Warrior Athletic Center in Fort Wayne, Ind.
        “The competition at these duals was as tough as we thought it would be,” Kelly said.  “Unfortunately, we failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities where we could have defeated ranked wrestlers.”
        The Gray Wolves opened the day against host Indiana Tech. After the Warriors scored a fall at 133, Henneman put the Gray Wolves back in front with a 12-2 major decision at 141 pounds. Indiana Tech would win the remaining seven bouts though, including three via fall, to pull away in the match.
        Lourdes built a big lead early against Thomas More on the way to closing the day with a victory. Henneman made it 18-0 Gray Wolves with a fall at 1:39, giving Lourdes three first period pins.  Anderson followed with a second period fall to increase the lead to 27-0 Gray Wolves.
        Inside of Founders Hall Gymnasium in New Philadelphia, Ohio, Lourdes had little resistance as the Gray Wolves posted a 44-12 victory over Ohio Valley and a 53-6 triumph over Kent State-Tuscarawas. It came on the heels of a poor team performance during a loss to Adrian.
        “This was a nice bounce back after our performance in our last match,” Kelly said.  “I’m very pleased with the way that our wrestlers responded.”
        In the opener against Ohio Valley, Anderson and Greg Briggs (Lodi Cloverleaf) recorded back-to-back pins at 157 and 165 pounds respectively. 
Lourdes held an 11-point lead midway through the dual match inside the Merillat Sports and Fitness Center in Adrian, Mich., but Adrian rallied with wins in the final five bouts to defeat the Gray Wolves 30-17.
“Unfortunately, a few wrestlers came out flat, which resulted in them wrestling sluggish,” Kelly said.  “We must be committed to training at a higher level in order to achieve success on nights like tonight.”
After the Bulldogs got a win by decision at 133 pounds, Henneman showed why he’s the top-ranked wrester at 141 pounds in the NAIA, recording a fall at the 2:27 mark of the opening period.
Two bouts later, Anderson added a fall of his own at the end of the first period of his 157-pound match, giving Lourdes a 17-6 advantage in the match.
Adrian responded, registering three pins and two more wins by decision in the second half of the contest to snap the Gray Wolves’ five-match winning streak.
Dominating John Carroll Duals
At the John Carroll Duals, the Gray Wolves dropped just six of 40 bouts on the afternoon inside of the Decarlo Varsity Center in University Heights, Ohio.
The Gray Wolves posted a pair of shutouts, blanking Penn State Behrend 47-0 to open the day while shutting out Pittsburgh-Bradford 50-0.  Lourdes was a 42-10 victory over Urbana in the second contest of the day before the Gray Wolves concluded the afternoon with a 24-16 triumph over host John Carroll.
“This was an incredible team effort from all 10 wrestlers today,” Kelly said.  “Every individual match was vital in helping us secure all four dual match victories.  We are incredibly proud of the way our guys competed all day long.  It was especially sweet to defeat John Carroll in their home arena and in a very hostile environment.”
        In the win over Penn State Behrand, Garrett Carter (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Anderson (Oregon, Ohio/Clay H.S.) added major decisions as well, winning 8-0 and 13-4 at 149 and 157 pounds respectively.  Henneman followed with a fall just 1:55 into his opening period.
        In the shutout of Pittsburgh-Bradford, Lourdes needed to wrestle in just four weight classes, winning the other six spots via forfeit. 
        The Gray Wolves jumped out to a quick lead against John Carroll before holding on for the victory.  Henneman added a pin with just 34 seconds remaining in the match.  The Blue Streaks won at 149 pounds before Anderson earned a hard-fought 11-10 win at 157 pounds. 
Inside of the Karl H. Weaner Center in Defiance, Lourdes registered victories in each of the first bouts as the Gray Wolves defeated Defiance 29-14
        “Tonight was a solid team effort against a scrappy Defiance team,” Kelly said.  “Our lightweights gave us quite a bit of momentum tonight, and it was great to end the match with a fall.”
        Henneman and Carter continued the momentum, with both recording major decisions at 141 and 149 pounds respectively.  Henneman was a 13-2 victor while Carter won 16-4. Anderson made it a perfect 5-for-5 to start the day for Lourdes winning a 7-2 decision in the 157-pound weight class.
        Lourdes opened the wrestling season falling to NCAA Division II ninth-ranked Ashland 29-12 inside the Franciscan Center Gymnasium.
        “Ashland was a tough opponent to wrestle for our season opener,” Kelly said afterwards.  “I’m so proud of the way that our guys battled tonight.  The final score is definitely not reflective of how hard we competed.  It would have been easy to schedule a softer opponent, but our goal is to place high at the national tournament in March.  In order to accomplish that, we have to compete against quality competition so that we peak at the right time.”
        The Gray Wolves jumped out to a 12-3 lead through the first three weight classes as Ray Porter (Strongsville) and Henneman were awarded forfeit victories at 125 and 141 pounds respectively. At 157 pounds, Anderson appeared to score a reversal in the final seconds to force overtime, but it was taken off the board by the official, and he fell 8-6.
        The Sooner Athletic Conference Championships will take place in Bartlesville, Okla. on Feb. 22 before the Gray Wolves turn their attention to the NAIA National Championships, which will be held in Topeka, Kan. this year March 6-7. (— includes press release contributions from Ryan Wronkowicz/Lourdes Athletics)


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