Walnut Ridge, Ark. - The Eagles wrestling squad from Williams Baptist College has been fighting for respect all season long. The recognition they deserve cannot be denied after the team finished 22 at the NAIA National Championships, including three top 16 finishers, and one All-American. The championships were held in Topeka, Kan.
Isaiha Johnson (FR/Waynesville, Mo. ) paced the Eagles with a fourth place finish. In doing so, the freshman became the first All-American wrestler in school history. He beat three ranked opponents on his way to the podium.
"I did not finish the regional tournament how I wanted. So, I focused on improving little things over the last couple weeks and went into this weekend prepared. I tried to focus on one match, and each point without getting too far ahead of myself. I left it all on the mat and finished the season with no regrets," said Johnson.
The fourth place finish earned WBC 12.5 team points. He ends his freshman campaign with a record of 24-10.
"I could not be more proud of Isaiah. He wrestled with the confidence needed to win at the national stage. He will forever be an All-American," added Head Coach Kerry Regner.
Jonathan Drendel (SO/North Aurora, Ill.) was the next highest finisher for the Eagles. The sophomore finished in the top 12 and was one victory away from becoming an All-American. His season ends with a 13-6 record
The highlight of Drendel's tournament came in the second round, as he pinned the fourth ranked wrestler in the 157-pound division. His upset gave WBC four points.
Conner Linehan (SO/St. Louis, Mo.) and Tyler Dibert (FR/Imler, Penn. ) were the two other wrestlers who qualified for the National Championships. Linehan finished in the top 16 of the 174 lb. weight class after losing in the second round and Dibert lost in the second round of the 184-class.
Linehan ends his season with a 25-16 record, while Dibert's ends at 31-12.
The first year program finished with a team record of 11-3 in duals, four national qualifiers, and one All-American.
"We finished off a good year this weekend. We accomplished everything we thought we could accomplish. I think the important thing is our guys got to see what the National Championships are all about. The team now knows they can not only compete, but win here. I am very proud of this team and where it is headed," concluded Regner.