Men’s wrestling season ends at nationals

Michael Guido, Managing & Sports Editor

The Gannon men’s wrestling team closed out the 2021-2022 season with strong finishes at the NCAA Division II National Championships last weekend.

The two-day competition, hosted by Maryville University of St. Louis and the St. Louis Sports Commission, gave the Knights a chance to wrap up the season on a high note after finishing the regular season 8-3 and 6-1 in conference action.

Friday’s session resulted in one of the best finishes ever for the Knights.

When the day’s competition was over, the Knights had placed seventh out of 52 schools competing.

Redshirt juniors Evan Fisler (165 pounds) and Joel Leise (197 pounds), along with senior heavyweight Freddie Nixon each achieved All-American honors Friday, the first such honor for each wrestler.

Fisler, who stepped in midseason for an injured Alex Farenchak, won two out of three matches, which featured an upset of Jack Eiteljorge of Indianapolis, the fourth-seeded wrestler.

After a loss, Fisler rebounded with a 6-5 win that made him an All-American for the first time.

Nixon rebounded with a 2-1 decision when facing elimination Friday and took a 25-5 record into Saturday’s competition.

Meanwhile, the Saturday portion of the championship weekend saw the three All-American Knights wrestlers return for another day of competition.

Gannon, which finished in 10th and marked a second consecutive year of top 10 finishes, sent Fisler, Leise and Nixon, who all turned in strong performances.

Fisler opened the day with a resounding 11-3 victory and made it all the way to the consolation semifinals where he lost a hard-fought match to Cole Peterson of McKendree 16-5.

That put Fisler in the match for fifth place, where he fell 5-3 to Drew Wiechers of Ashland. That left Fisler with a sixth-place finish and an overall record of 14-7 on the year.

The seventh-seeded Leise had a mixed day, losing to Gino Sita of Alderson Broaddus 5-3 in the consolation third round before pinning West Liberty’s Logan Kemp in the seventh-place match and ending the year 17-3.

Nixon lost 3-1 to Weston Hunt of Colorado Mines in the consolation third round and also lost by pin to AJ Cooper of Fort Hays State to finish eighth and end the season with a 23-6 mark.


[email protected]