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Four Raiders still alive at nationals

SIOUX CITY, Iowa ' Four of Southern Oregon University's 12 wrestlers remain in contention for weight class titles following the opening day of the NAIA Championships at the Tyson Center.

The seventh-ranked Raiders reside in fourth place with 66 team points, 2&

189; behind Cumberlands, Ky. for a coveted spot in the top three. Top-ranked Dana, Neb. (117) leads the 26-team event, and defending champion Lindenwood, Mo. (95.5) is second.

Seniors Matt Holt (141), Jimmy Grochowsky (165), David O'Brien (174) and Rick Story (184) represent the program's largest group of semifinalists since 2001, while senior James Mannenbach (165) and freshman Trevor Lofstedt (125) have a chance to place as high as third tomorrow.

Overall, we did a pretty good job today, Raider coach Mike Ritchey said. Dana is running away with it (the tournament), but we have a great chance to bring home a (top three) trophy, which was our goal coming in.

The unseeded Holt decisioned William Penn's Earl Robinson and Waldorf's Mike Billings to set up a David vs. Goliath semifinal scenario against second-ranked Joe Garcia of Menlo, Calif.

Matt changed how he mentally approached matches after the regional tournament, and he did a great job today, Ritchey said. He's in a position so many wrestlers can only dream of.

— Grochowsky, the top draw at 165, faces defending champion and second-seeded Tyson Springer of Dickinson State, N.D. for a berth in the finals. The Estacada native, who enters the day eighth on SOU's all-time list with 35 season victories, defeated Springer, 5-2, at the NAIA Duals competition on Jan. 14.

Beating a guy during the season is not necessarily an advantage (in the national tournament), Ritchey said, but I think Springer, being the defending champ, will probably be under more pressure than Jimmy.

Ranked fourth at 174, O'Brien is assured of becoming the school's ninth three-time NAIA All-American after pulling off a stunning quarterfinal triumph against sixth-seeded Abel Trujillo of William Penn.

Trailing by five after two periods, O'Brien sprang two takedowns in the final minute to emerge with a 12-11 screamer.

The comeback win allowed the four-time regional champion to move into the semifinals against second-ranked Mike Krummer of Great Falls.

David had one of the best two-minute periods I've seen, Ritchey said. It truly was an awesome performance, and he now has a good shot (at winning a title).

Story, the No. 4 draw at 184, improved to 32-6 on the year with three wins, including a 6-2 decisions over two-time All-American Elijah Simburger in the quarterfinals. He faces No. — Jasper Lockett of Bacone, Okla. tomorrow morning.

Rick wrestled not to get beat early in his first bout, but he then really cranked it up, Ritchey said. He handled Simburger fairly easily.

Lofstedt, a 2005 Roseburg High state champion, advanced to the quarterfinals and finished 2-1 on the day, and he created the first Raider father-son All-American combination in school history. Trevor's father, Brent, was a two-time national champion as an SOU 134-pounder in 1982-83.

Meanwhile, Mannenbach, a senior from Eagle Point whose father won a 1975 NAIA regional championship at Southern Oregon, will become only the third SOU grappler to earn both Academic All-American and All-American kudos.