Topeka, Kan. - The Williams Baptist College wrestling team may only be in its third year of existence, but the team has already climbed towards the top of the NAIA. Tyler Fraley (JR/Freehold, N.J.) finished third, while Josh Chiles (JR/Little Rock, Ark. ) finished fourth at this year's NAIA National Championships. Fraley becomes an All-American for the second straight season, while Chiles becomes the first Arkansas high school graduate to earn All-American honors in wrestling at any collegiate level.
Tyler Fraley came into the tournament as the number one wrestler in the 141 lb. division. He proved why as he won his first two bouts by technical falls, including a 22-4 TF against eighth seeded Marcello Sierra. However, in the championship bracket semifinals, Fraley was upset by (12) Dillon Kifer by a 9-3 decision.
The loss sent Fraley to the consolation bracket, where he won his consolation bracket semifinal by a 6-4 decision to advance to the third place match.
In the third place bout, he won a 6-3 decision over third seeded Tres Leon.
Josh Chiles made a lot of history for the Eagles over the course of the NAIA National Championship. Most notably, he became the first Arkansas high school graduate to earn All-American honors at any collegiate school.
Chiles came into the tournament as the nine seed. After an opening round bye, he won his first battle over (8) Tyler Noon by a 8-6 decision. The next match he faced the top ranked wrestler in the weight class, and lost by a pin in :58. This sent Chiles to the consolation bracket, where he would have a long way to his eventual fourth place finish.
The Little Rock, Ark., native came alive in the consolation bracket. First, he beat teammate Tyler Dibert (JR/Imler, Penn. ) in the All-American round before shutting out (12) Cameron Jones by a 7-0 decision. Next, he upset the second ranked Matt Walker of Lindsey-Wilson College. He beat him by a tight 2-1 decision, advancing Chiles to the third place bout.
The third place match saw Chiles face (4) Michael Pixley of Grand View University. Pixley beat Chiles by fall (6:22).
The highest finish in school history before this season was fourth place. However, these two topped that and Demetrius Thomas (FR/Ferguson, Mo. ) is guaranteed to finish no worse than second place. He plays in the finals tonight (March 4), at 7 p.m.
Check back to our 'Tournament Central' page for a complete recap of the NAIA National Championships.