Etzel Places Sixth At 157 Pounds; W&J’s First Wrestling All-American Since 2002
WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Washington & Jefferson College junior wrestler Josh Etzel (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) placed sixth in the 157-pound bracket Saturday at the 2013 NCAA Division III Championships at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Etzel became W&J’s first wrestling All-American since Kevin DeJuliis ’03 took seventh place in the 133-pound bracket of the 2002 NCAA Championships. The top eight finishers in each weight class receive All-America laurels.
Etzel’s sixth-place finish is the best by a Washington & Jefferson College wrestler since W&J Athletic Hall of Famer Dave Krivus ’83 placed sixth in the 150-pound bracket in 1983.
Only Krivus’ second-place finish at 142 pounds in 1981 and Bob Daschbach’s fifth-place showing at 118 pounds in 1974 topped Etzel’s final placement in W&J’s storied wrestling history. Etzel is just the sixth wrestler in school history to earn NCAA All-America laurels.
A two-time national qualifier and two-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference champion, Etzel finished the national tournament with a 3-3 record and a 37-7 mark overall. His 37 victories set a school record for single-season wins, topping the 36 earned by DeJuliis (2003) and Taylor Potts ’12 (2012).
Etzel, who now owns a 68-13 overall record as a President, received a victory medical forfeit in his first match of the day as top-seeded Elias Larson of Trine was unable to compete after suffering an injury Friday.
That victory advanced Etzel into a bout with second-seeded Chris Burdge of Centenary (N.J.). However, Burdge caught Etzel and pinned him in 2:23. In the fifth-place match, Cole Welter of Wartburg outlasted Etzel in overtime 5-3 (TB-2).
In addition to Etzel’s All-America finish, freshman 125-pounder Jacob Spearman (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) posted a 1-2 record on Friday. He was the first W&J freshman to win a match at the national championships under the tournament’s current qualifying structure.
Etzel and Spearman became the Presidents’ first duo to compete at the national championships since 2003 when DeJuliis (133) and Byron Johnson '04 (141) qualified.
Washington & Jefferson is led by Head Coach Tommy Prairie, who has produced three national qualifiers in just two seasons on campus.