WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Lyon College junior Troy Mercer (SR/Rockwall, Texas) defeated Williams Baptist College's Braden Zini in the championship match of the 197-lb. weight class at the 2017 American Midwest Conference Championships on Saturday here in WBC's Southerland-Mabee Center. The third time was a charm for the Scot as he captured his first tournament title and will carry momentum into the NAIA Midwest Qualifying Tournament on Feb. 18 in Davenport, Mich.
Mercer was just one of several Scots who performed well at the second-ever AMC Wrestling Tournament. Teammate Connor Webber (JR/Houston, Texas) (pictured below), ranked 14th in the 165-lb. weight class, posted a 2-1 record and was narrowly defeated in a decision loss to Ryan Whittle of Williams Baptist.
Lyon's Tevon Sandoz placed third in the 141-lb. weight class, Robb Rodriguez (JR/Hollister, Calif.) earned fourth place in the 141-lb. class and Albert Ordonez (FR/Miami, Fla.) placed fifth in the 149-lb. weight class.
The Scots placed fourth overall at the tournament, scoring 74.5 points. No. 9-ranked Williams Baptist College claimed back-to-back team championships by scoring 185 points and claiming six individual titles. Lindenwood University-Belleville (Ill.) grabbed second place with 127 points, Missouri Baptist University claimed third with 100 points. Central Baptist College claimed fifth place with 56 points and Hannibal-LaGrange University placed sixth with 36 points.
Mercer posted an unbeaten 3-0 mark at the league championships. After receiving an opening round bye, he claimed an 8-6 decision over Williams Baptist's Conor Karwath. He then defeated Lindenwood-Belleville's Timothy Carter in a fall that took 5:35. He saved the best for last, claiming a third win this season over Braden Zini of WBC, with a 13-4 major decision.
"Troy is a steady wrestler and that's how he got it done today," said Lyon head coach Tom Erikson. "He struggled in his first match, but he calmed down and didn't make mistakes and just took care of business."
Winning his first tournament title was important to the Rockwall, Texas native.
"It's nice to have some first-place 'hardware' to take home from a tournament after wrestling so long," Mercer said after receiving his medal. "I usually start off slow, like I did today, but once I got it out of my system I started wrestling better. I had a good semifinal and then it carried over into the final."
Mercer said it's not necessarily an advantage wrestling an opponent more than once in the same season.
"I treat all my opponents the same, but when I wrestle an opponent more than once, they know me a little bit better too. If he's a new opponent he might not know all the tricks up my sleeve. So it was tough wrestling (Zini) for the third time."
Webber, ranked 14th in the nation in the 165-lb. weight class, posted a 2-1 mark. He opened with a fall victory in 5:29 over Williams Baptist's Christian Cara. He advanced to the championship with a fall win in 2:07 over Missouri Baptist's Jake Mattson. In the championship he dropped a 13-6 decision to WBC's Ryan Whittle.
Sandoz defeated Rodriguez in the battle for third place in the 141-lb. weight class. Sandoz opened with a bye and then dropped a technical fall loss to the Eagles' Tyler Fraley, 16-1. He bounced back with a technical fall (18-2) victory over Central Baptist College's Michael Cunningham and then topped Rodriguez, 5-4.
Rodriguez was 2-2 at the competition. He defeated CBC's Cunningham in the opening round, with a fall win in 4:14. He followed that with a fall setback in 3:47 to Marcelo Sierra of LU-B. He reached the third-place matchup with a fall win over Esequiel Rodriguez of LU-B in a fall in 2:35.
Lyon's Ordonez placed fifth with a 2-2 record in the 149-lb. class. He won by fall over CBC's Juan Bustos in 2:24. He then lost to 15th-ranked Patrick Grigsby of WBC with a fall loss in 3:54. He then lost to Erik Cooley of WBC with an 18-6 major decision, before pinning Joshua Nidever of Hannibal-LaGrange in 5:29.
Scots who failed to pick up victories in the AMC championships included Christopher Marson (SO/Denham Spring, La.) (0-2) in the 125-lb. class, Roger Gasmann (FR/Little Elm, Texas) (0-2) in the 149-lb. class, George Scott (FR/Little Rock, Ark.) (0-2) in the 174-lb. class, and John Bentley (FR/Katy, Texas) (0-2) and Cordell Spohrer (SO/Slidell, La.) (0-2) in the 285-lb. weight class.
2016-17 AMC MEN'S WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday, January 28, 2017at Williams Baptist College, Walnut Ridge, Ark.
1. Williams Baptist College - 185.0
2. Lindenwood University-Belleville - 127.0
3. Missouri Baptist University - 100.0
4. Lyon College - 74.5
5. Central Baptist College - 56.0
6. Hannibal-LaGrange University - 36.0
Wrestling Contact: John Krueger | 936-332-9332 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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