Shane Stolz, Sports Information Director
WALNUT RIDGE – Kole Meador (JR/Hillsboro, Mo.) and Jonathan Stewart (SR/Blaine, Wash.) won individual American Midwest Conference championships on Saturday, while team finished runner up at the AMC Championships. The tournament was hosted by Lyon College in Batesville, Ark.
Kole Meador won his first AMC Championship, sweeping through the 165 lb. weight division. He received an opening round bye before winning a 9-2 decision in the quarterfinals. Looking to make the conference championship, he won by a 58 second fall in the semifinals. In the championship, he faced Jose Intriago from Lindenwood University-Belleville. The junior beat Intriago by a 14-8 decision to win his first individual title. With the title, Meador earns an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships.
Jonathan Stewart won his first conference title after storming through the 174 lb. weight class. He won his quarterfinal match by a 14-2 major decision before winning the semifinals with a 4:31 fall. In the final, he won by an 8-3 decision over Jack Serview of Marian University. Stewart will return for his second straight trip to the NAIA National Championship. The senior is currently ranked nine in the 174 lb. division.
The team finished as runner-up in the tournament. WBU finished with 163.5 points, 12 points behind first place Marian University. In the four year history of AMC wrestling, the Eagles have never finished lower than second. The team is currently ranked 19th in the NAIA.
“We have had a year full of adversity. The guys we took to conference fought extremely hard and I am proud of them. I know some guys did not finish as high as they would like and it burns, but we will go back to the drawing board and make adjustments so the pain does not return next year,” said Head Coach Todd Allen.
After the tournament, the conference released its 2018-19 season awards. The Eagles were well represented among the honors. They had five members receive All-Conference, one AMC Freshman of the Year and nine Academic All-Conference.
Ben Turnbough (FR/Irondale, Mo.) received All-Conference honors as well as AMC Freshman of the Year. The freshman has a record of 16-7, and finished runner-up at the AMC Championships. He received an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships at the 197 lb. weight division after his second place finish. Turnbough also was named Academic All-Conference.
Other wrestlers receiving All-Conference honors are Tanner Irwin (JR/Nixa, Mo.), Kole Meador, Jonathan Stewart and Jeffrey Haley (SR/Quincy, Ill.).
Tanner Irwin earns the honor for the third straight season. His record sits at 17-2 and he finished runner-up at the AMC Championships. He is ranked sixth in the 133 lb. weight division. He earned a bid to the NAIA Championships with his second place finish.. It will be the junior’s third trip to the finals.
Kole Meador earns all-conference honors for the first time in his career. He has a record of 16-11, and competes in the 165 lb. weight class. The junior earned an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships by winning the AMC Championship.
Jonathan Stewart earned all-conference after posting a 15-5 record this season. He will make his second appearance at the NAIA National Championships after winning his first AMC title this year. He competes in the 174 lb. weight class.
Jeffrey Haley is a former All-American who returned this season after redshirting a year ago. He finished the season with an 8-3 record and earned a bid to the NAIA National Championships after finishing in third at the AMC Championships. He is the eighth ranked wrestler in the 184 lb. class. He was also named Academic All-Conference.
All five All-Conference athletes earned bids to compete at the NAIA National Championships.
“It is exciting to have five national qualifiers, and I am expecting them to make noise at the NAIA National Championships. I am excited to see them work towards earning All-American status,” said Allen.
Braden Zini (SR/Little Rock, Ark.), Daryus Webb (FR/St. Louis, Mo.), Gavin Wells (SO/Poplar Bluff, Mo.), Maleek Caton (JR/Maumelle, Ark.), Sean Sesnan, Willie Wright (SR/Maumelle, Ark.) and Zachary Haley (FR/Quincy, Ill.) join Ben Turnbough and Jeffrey Haley on the Academic All-Conference Team.
The championships will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 1-2. Stay tuned to www.wbueagles.com for tournament updates!