Two wrestlers earn All-American honors
An 11th-place team finish, the highest since 2011-12. Two All-Americans. Fourth-place and fifth-place individual NCAA Division II finishes.
That’s how senior Michael Lowman and junior Aero Amo described the finale of the 2017 NCAA D-II wrestling National Tournament.
For Lowman, it was his last time on the mat after five years as a Viking.
“It’s a great accomplishment, but I know my career is over now,” Lowman said. “I was happy that I placed in the higher end of the top eight, but it sucks that it’s over.”
Lowman, placing fourth in the 285-pound division, earned his first All-American honor.
The veteran Viking rallied in his quarterfinal match against Andy Welton of Mercyherst, a wrestler who had beaten him “pretty badly” earlier in the season.
A first period pin was all it took.
“It was a really, really good feeling to beat the kid who had beaten me,” Lowman said. “I was pretty cool and collected; I knew I had to pin him. That match was the personal highlight of the tournament for me.”
After dropping his semifinal match to Garrett Gray of Tiffin, Lowman said he needed to change his mindset to continue.
“The match I lost was against a pretty good kid,” he said. “I had to think to myself that I’d lost before, and that I had to get ready for the next match. Coach [Meester]said the same thing. As one of the more experienced guys I had to set the example.”
Lowman finished the weekend by losing the third-place match.
Though competing in the 184-pound division, Amo’s national tournament looked similar.
After falling in a tight semifinal match, Amo viewed his fifth-place finish as motivation to clinch the national title next season.
“I was right there to be in the finals,” he said. “I want to win it—that’s the goal. I think it’s a realistic goal for next year.”
Looking back on the Vikings’ performance on the national stage—qualifying five wrestlers and placing two in the top five—coach Jason Reitmeier said he was happy with his team’s 11-th place finish. Happy, but not satisfied.
“Getting Michael to the quarterfinals, he wrestled well, smart,” Reitmeier said. “Aero wrestled well all weekend, with one mental mistake in the semifinals. Overall, they were both fun to watch.”
Reitmeier said the Vikings three other qualifiers—freshman Brandon Carroll and seniors Tyler Nation and Ben Goodwin—also competed hard, citing his goal to be back in the top ten in team standings next year.
“[We’ll] graduate some great kids,” Reitmeier said. “But we have a solid core coming back. We’ll continue working the way we did this year.”
Part of that work will come from Lowman. Though his career competing as a Viking may be over, the senior said he plans on coming back next year as a volunteer assistant coach.
“Eventually wrestling just becomes part of your life,” Lowman said. “It’s been amazing to experience the last five years here at Augie. I honestly didn’t expect it to be this great. The way I’ve been treated by the coaches, my teammates and the wrestling family, I couldn’t be more thankful.”