CEDAR RAPIDS – Dimitri Boyer and Ethan Ball have been a key part of the Coe wrestling program during their careers.
The Kohawk senior duo has made their contributions to the program, but one thing has been missing.
Boyer and Ball entered the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships at the U.S. Cellular Center as the No. 2 seed at 157 and 174 pounds, respectively. They began they’re trek for All-America honors with wins Friday morning.
Ball is sixth in school history with 110 career wins before the quarterfinals. Boyer is one spot back taking possession of seventh all-tome at Coe with his 106th in the first round.
“They have both been fixtures in our program,” Coe Coach John Oostendorp said. “They take one match at a time.”
Ball is in his third national tournament, but was only 1-4 in his first two appearances. He edged Centenary’s Josh Sibblies, 4-3, to reach the quarterfinals. Ball used a second-period takedown and a reversal in the third to move a win away from placing.
“Any time you get a win it’s good for confidence,” Oostendorp said. “It will be a big thing to get that All-American (pressure) off him. He’s been here two other times.”
Boyer, who is fifth in Coe history with 37 pins, was in more control of his first match. He reached the quarterfinal for the second straight year with a 7-0 win over Ithaca’s Kevin Collins. The second-ranked Boyer is improved from last year, helping his chances for a medal.
“It is the way Dimitri has wrestled all year,” Oostendorp said of the shutout win. “He’s a good competitor, who puts a lot of pressure on people. He’s maybe not the flashiest, but he’s elevated his level.”
The only thing missing is standing on a step of the awards podium when the season and their college careers close. They took a step in the right direction in their first bouts.
“Both of those guys had goals to come and win this thing,” Oostendorp said. “I don’t think they will be satisfied unless they are here Saturday night.”
Cornell assistant wrestling coach Matt Fields put his juggling skills to the test this week. In addition to helping Ram wrestlers prepare for the national tournament, the former University of Iowa All-American and North Cedar two-time state champion heavyweight welcomed a new member to his family.
Fields wife, Amber, gave birth to a daughter, Piper Jo, on Tuesday. She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 20 inches long. It was their second child for the couple, which also has a son, Noble, who is more than two years old.
They knew the situation before the birth.
“That was known going in,” Fields said. “I’d be there for the birth but then I’d have to jump ship. She was OK with that.
Mother and daughter were released Thursday. Just in time for the tournament. Fields was going to try to find time for a quick trip to see mom and baby between sessions.
“She is understanding,” he said. “This is a one-time a year thing and I have to split focus on wrestling and her. I was there for the first couple of days. That was important.”
Wrestling teams can be like a family, but Wabash (Ind.) program takes it to a new level. Actually, the Lefever family, from Fort Wayne, Ind., has much to do with it.
Brothers Reece Lefever (157), Conner Lefever (174) and Riley Lefever (184) are half of the Little Giants national qualifiers. They were all ranked by the National Wrestling Coaches Association rankings as late as January 28, marking the first time three brothers were listed at the same time.Reece Lefever, seeded fifth, opened with an 8-6 win over Everet Desilets of Johnson and Wales. Sixth-seeded Conner Lefever posted an 11-5 win over Ithaca’s Carlos Toribio in the first round. Top-seeded Riley Lefever topped Coe’s Ryan Sheldon, 10-4, to reach the quarterfinals.