Junior wrestler Joseph Atwell of Central College bounced back from a first-round loss to earn a win at the NCAA Division III wrestling championships before bowing out of the tournament Friday night at La Crosse, Wisconsin. Atwell met top-ranked Orlando Ponce of Augsburg College in his opening match at 157 pounds and suffered a 16-8 loss by major decision. Ponce is a three-time national runner-up and all-American.
Dropping to the consolation bracket, Atwell topped Terner Gott of John Carroll University by decision, 13-9. That earned Atwell a chance to face No. 3 Elias Larson of Trine University. Larson placed third at the tournament last year and topped Atwell by an 8-2 decision. Atwell closes the year at 24-11.
This season the Central College wrestling team compiled its third consecutive 10-win dual season, tallying 13 victories, the most in 18 years. The Dutch also improved their standings in the ultra-competitive Iowa Conference, placing sixth at the league tournament.