Westminster Has three on the podium, Senior Montgomery Mills NCAA is now 2x Qualifier

Going into their Regional Tournament, the Westminster Blue Jays knew it was a tough road to qualify for the NCAAs.  In fact, if you qualify through the NCAA DIII Lower Midwest Regional, most likely already wrestled some of the nation’s best just to qualify.  Among the teams in attendance, nine of them are Iowa Schools with most of the rest are from Illinois, or Missouri.  Coming into this weekend this Regional boasts having the #2, #3, #15, #17, #19, #23, #24, and #25 ranked teams in the country. (This doesn’t count the shear number of individually ranked wrestlers, returning NCAA qualifiers and AAs that are in this regional tournament)  

During the course of the regular season the Westminster Blue Jays saw a number of these schools but not all of them.  In addition to the ranked teams, the entire SLIAC is in this regional, whom Westminster wrestled just a weekend ago and fared well with some individual conference champions.  

Unlike the Division I counterparts, the DIII wrestlers don’t have at-large bids if they don’t place in their qualifying tournament.  In order to qualify, the wrestlers have to place in the top 3 in their respective Regional Tournament in order to advance to the NCAA DIII tournament that will take place in La Crosse, Wisconsin in two weeks.  

Westminster brought a young team to the Regional Tournament, with only 1 senior in the lineup with most of the lineup being freshmen or sophomores.  Out of the 8 wrestlers, only 3 of them were able to make it to day two of the tournament. (Roberts at 157 lbs., Wetzel at 184 lbs., and Mills at 197 lbs.)  

On Day 2 Michael Roberts, after pinning the #1 seed in the quarterfinals on Day 1, would be unable to pick up the momentum that he had from the previous day.  He would end up losing consecutive matches to the #15 national ranked wrestler from Cornell in the semis, The #8 ranked wrestler in the consolation semis, and the #10 ranked wrestler from Wartburg to finish in 6th place and ending his sophomore campaign.

After taking a loss to the #5 seed and the #20 ranked wrestler in the country (Dec. 8-4) in the  tournament in the quarterfinals, freshman Austen Wetzel, reset himself and was able to secure victories on the backside of the bracket including a 7-4 decision over the #15 ranked wrestler from Coe in the consolation semi-final round.  His NCAA qualifying round would be against his previous quarterfinal opponent from Day 1.  Wetzel, after giving up the initial takedown and nearfall points in the first period, found his groove and was able to score three takedowns and a set of nearfall points to have a 13-11 lead heading into the third period.  

Wetzel chose down and was able to earn an escape to increase his lead.  However, his opponent was ready and was able to take Wetzel down and score nearfall to retake the lead but Austen wasn’t giving up and earned another escape to be only down by 1.  However, with just a few seconds left with both wrestlers vying for position to secure victory, Wetzel’s opponent shot in on a shot to put him in the lead and secure the win and ending Wetzel’s impressive freshman campaign.

Senior, Montgomery Mills after struggling at the SLIAC tournament, would face off against the #15 nationally ranked wrestler in his first round.  Mills did end up losing a barn burner of a match by a score of 15-11 but after that initial setback he appeared to be a man on a mission.  After a bye in the consolations, he rattled off 4 straight bonus point wins, including a pin over the #12 ranked wrestler from Cornell to reach his…

Yes, there's even more!
The Best Missouri Wrestling Content.
Enjoy local Missouri wrestling perspective as well as national outlook with the power of Rokfin. Cancel at any time.
  • Exclusive Missouri Wrestling content
  • Rankings, articles, video, livestreams
  • Access to over 130+ wrestling channels
  • Ad-Free. No ads, no banners – not now, not ever
  • Our Mission, for the past 20+ years, is to provide the most and best Missouri wrestling content. We believe wrestling is the toughest sport and deserves media coverage. If you appreciate what we do, please consider subscribing to help support what we provide
  • With a MissouriWrestling.com Rokfin subscription, you gain access to exclusive content, Missouri high school rankings and other premium content that may not be available to non-subscribers. The Missouri wrestling premium subscription is available at $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year, offering the flexibility to cancel anytime.
  • There aren't many sites dedicated to wrestling in Missouri, if any. If you appreciate what we do for the sport, please consider subscribing to help support us.

What do you think?


Written by Jonathan Bowen

2023-2024 Missouri Wrestling Boys All State Team

Big 12 Outlook: Mizzou’s Path to Triumph in the Big 12 Championships