EVANSTON, Ill. - The Columbia wrestling team concluded competition at the 50th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships Sunday with senior co-captain Steve Santos claiming fourth place in the 149-pound weight class. The Lions as a team finished in 15th with 39 points.
"As a team, we had a great first session, standing in third heading into the round of 16. It was a tough session II, but finishing 15th overall is an outstanding performance," said Carl Fronhofer, the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling following the tournament. "We still have areas to improve on as a team, but we can definitely build on this moving forward."
Santos, currently ranked 8th/15th (AWN/Intermat), began the day with a semifinals matchup against No. 1/3 Donnie Vinson from Binghamton. A 6-1 decision in favor of Vinson would send Santos to the wrestleback draw. Santos would rebound in his next match, downing No. 10/10 Nick Lester from Oklahoma to earn a spot in the third-place match Sunday night.
Challenging Santos in the third-place match was Montell Marion, a former three-time All-America selection while wrestling at Iowa from 2010-12. In an extremely close match, it would be Marion to come out with the win, eclipsing Santos with a 5-4 decision. The two losses today suffered by Santos were his first two of the year as he continues his impressive senior campaign, improving to 16-2 overall.
"Steve had a great performance at the Midlands, but lost a tough match in the semifinals to Vinson," said Fronhofer. "He rebounded though to beat Lester from Oklahoma, an All-American from last season, so that will help him in the rankings moving forward."
No. 17/15 Jake O'Hara and No. 12/18 Stephen West were also both in action Sunday in the 157-pound and 174-pound wrestleback draws, respectively, but both would go down in their first match of the day.
Columbia will next be on the mat when it heads out west to compete in the Cal Poly Duals Jan. 6 in San Luis Obisbo, Calif.