Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Thursday, March 4, 2004
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Like the deceased baseball players in Field of Dreams, two Muhlenberg wrestlers hope to find their version of heaven in Iowa when they compete in the NCAA Division III Championships this weekend.

Loras College in Dubuque is the host for the national tournament, which will feature 160 wrestlers from 57 schools competing for titles in 10
NCAA wrestling championships
Click on the logo for the official tournament site.
weight classes. Competition is scheduled to begin Friday at 11 with the first of four sessions.

The Mules will be represented by sophomore Dale Mills at 149 pounds and freshman Matt Loesch at 197. Both qualified by winning their respective weight classes at the Centennial Conference Championships.

Mills is 26-8 with 10 pins and enters nationals with an eight-bout winning streak. He has placed first or second in three tournaments this season.

Although Mills is 0-5 against the rest of the field this year, four of those losses were by three points or fewer: two to Jim Russial of York, currently ranked seventh in Division III, one to Rory Tobias (ranked eighth) and one to Jim Morgan of King’s, the 2003 national runner-up at 141. Last year, Mills defeated Russial, 7-5, and dropped a two-point decision to Morgan.

“I know the competition and I know I’m right there with them,” said Mills. “This year has been somewhat of a rollercoaster. I started out slow but I got into it by the end of first semester. The second semester was the same, so now I’m peaking.”

Loesch, who won his last 10 bouts to improve his record to 24-3, has already won three tournaments this season and is 2-1 against other national qualifiers. He pinned Tom Medonis of Springfield (ranked seventh in Division III) in the semifinals of Messiah’s Petrofes Invitational before dropping a 6-3 decision to No. 3 Robert Cuffie of Brockport State in the title bout. Loesch also eked out a 9-8 decision against Ben Stum of Baptist Bible in the final dual meet of the season.

“Matt’s chances are great,” remarked Mills.

The top eight finishers in each weight class earn All-America honors. Muhlenberg has come back from the NCAAs with All-Americans two of the last three years.

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Last updated March 4, 2004