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STORM LAKE, Iowa –Midland University was fueled by a first- and fourth-place finish at the Buena Vista University Open recently. The Warriors finished in 11th place, just one-half point out of tenth, in the 19-team tournament.

Stephon Gray, a junior from Chicago, captured the championship in the 165-pound B division by sweeping the competition. He scored a 3-1 decision over Nebraska Wesleyan’s Nathan Hunt in the first-place match.

“Stephon had an outstanding day. I’m excited to see him continue to get better,” Midland coach Dana Vote, a graduate of Buena Vista, said.

Aaron Rafalko of Junction City, Kansas, finished in fourth place in the 285-pound division. The senior pinned his first-round opponent in 2 minutes, 51 seconds and then claimed a 5-3 decision in the quarterfinals. He then lost in the semifinals before losing a tie-breaker in the third-place match.

Other Warriors competing included:

Rafael Vargas, a senior from Riverside, California, who went 1-2 on the day in the 125-pound bracket.

David Berg, a junior from West Point, who when 1-2, winning his opening 141-pound match by technical fall.

Dominique Evans, a freshman from Denver, who won his opening bout at 149 pounds, before losing his next two.

Paul Longshore, a senior from Alexandria, Kentucky, who went 1-2 on the day in the 157-pound division.

Adam Ball, a senior from Manistee, Michigan, pinned his opponent in the open round at 197 pounds before dropping a pair of decisions.

Brandon Johnson, a freshman from Lake Stevens, Washington, went 2-2 at 285 pounds.

Maury Lemons, a senior from Chatsworth, California, went 1-2 at 285 pounds after pinning his first-round opponent in 1:42.

Freshman Patrick Matheny went 1-2 in the 141 B division.

Freshman Elder Dominguez went 1-2 in the 197 B division, pinning his consolation opponent in 4:00.

Freshman Brandon Knickerbocker went 1-2 in the 285 C division.

Freshman Rajan Ellebb went 2-2 in the 285 C division.

“We need to continue to make adjustments to get where we want to be,” Vote said. “We are starting to get healthier coming into Christmas break, and I will be excited to get all the guys back on the mat.”

The Warriors will face Briar Cliff in a dual on Wednesday in Sioux City, Iowa. The Doane Open is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday in Crete. After Doane, the Warriors are off until Dec. 30.


Sports Editor

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