After earning fifth in the NCAA Super Region II Tournament, the University of Indianapolis wrestling team will send redshirt sophomore Brody Conner, redshirt senior Nick Crume, redshirt junior Heath Lange and redshirt junior Dylan Faulkenberg to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
Dropping from last year’s first place finish at regionals, Head Wrestling Coach Jason Warthan said that some men felt disappointed with the fifth place outcome.
According to Warthan, there were many athletes out due to injuries this season, which may have caused them to drop four places from last years regional meet to this year. He said there were some additional athletes that expected to qualify for nationals alongside Crume, Lange, Faulenburg and Conner. Wartahan said he believes that the men who did not make it to nationals, might have fallen a little short of their goals.
Lange, Crume and Faulkenburg will all be returning to nationals, while Conner will be making his first trip to the tournament.
Warthan said that it was tough to be completely satisfied with the outcome, but was excited to see four of the men head to Cedar Rapid, Iowa on March 9.
“It was kind of up and down,” Warthan said. “We have four national qualifiers. Those guys have been the heavy hitters all year, those guys wrestled well.”
As Warthan prepares the team for nationals, he said that he is soley focused on the men traveling to nationals. He said that he believes the men will finish the tournament high on the rankings.
“Dylan’s a three-time national qualifier now. He has fallen a little bit short the last couple of years,” Warthan said. “He has wrestled really well and had a couple post matches he came out on top of at regionals… Heath had the long road at regionals, he lost the first match, then was able to win a couple in a row, then actually lost.”
Crume became the fourth Hound in UIndy history to qualify for nationals four times in his career. He has put together what would be considered one of the best careers the wrestling program has seen, according to Warthan.
“This is Nick’s [Crume] fourth time at nationals,” Warthan said. “He is a four-time national qualifier, three-time regional champ, four-time regional finalist, so this is what he’s been waiting for all year.”
Crume said that as he heads to nationals, he expects to perform well but has not gotten ahead of himself quite yet. He said that he is focused on trying to take one day at a time.
“I haven’t really thought about it much,” Crume said. “I just take things day by day and I don’t really glisten on the past or live in the glory days.”
According to Crume, regionals went well for him despite being nervous and questioning if he would qualify for nationals for another year. He said he is happy to have the weight taken off his shoulders, knowing he will be attending nationals.
Crume said he is pleased with the two weeks of rest that the national men will receive. He believes it will be good for the mind and body as nationals causes a lot of stress to the men.
“The break in between is nice to get a little bit of time to rest,” Crume said. “A two-day tournament like [regionals] that really wares your body. It’s nice we had that week and half to relax and to get our minds refocused and then get ready for that last weekend [nationals], so we are healthy again and recharged ready to go.”
Lange,Faulkenburg,Connerand Crume have days left to prepare for the NCAA Division II Nationals Tournament, as they leave on March 9.