TOPEKA, Kan. – Menlo College Men's Wrestling has its first National Champion since 2008 as 125 pound senior Troy Lakin capped off his career in style with an absolutely dominating performance on Saturday evening in Kansas. In addition to the thrilling final for Lakin, junior transfer Javier Gonzalez claimed All-American status for the first time by pinning his opponent in just 23 seconds to finish seventh overall. At the time of this release, Menlo is currently in 13th place as a team.
It was the end of a remarkable career for senior Troy Lakin on Saturday evening. Heading into the event there were two certainties. Lakin would have to beat someone he had not beaten yet this season, and he would have to do so in the semifinals. Check and check. After a flawless first day of competition, Lakin set out to get the proverbial monkey off his back as he faced off against 125 pound national #2 seed and West Region champion Matthew Nguyen of Eastern Oregon. Nguyen handled Lakin at the NAIA West Regional weeks ago, marking the second time this year he had defeated him. Despite the odds seemingly stacked against him, Lakin wrestled a fantastic match to kick off day two and earned an 8-6 victory in overtime to earn the right to wrestle for a national championship later that day. Momentum was clearly in the corner of Lakin at that point as he prepped for the nationals match against the #1 overall seed and fellow senior Adrian Camposano of Cambellsville (Ky.) Lakin was a man on a mission in the finals and dominated from the opening whistle, winning a 15-6 major decision to put the exclamation mark on his historical career. With the win, Lakin joins some elite company and becomes the seventh national champion in Menlo Wrestling history and the first since 2008. Lakin finished the season 32-6 overall.
Joining Lakin as an All-American was junior heavyweight Javier Gonzalez. Gonzalez began the season unranked, but quickly climbed up the polls to as high as #4 in the nation in the final regular season poll. Gonzalez wrestled a great tournament in Kansas and battled through some setbacks to earn a spot on the podium, finishing 7th overall, good for All-American status. Gonzalez began the second day of competition by dropping a match to Justin Smith of Missouri Valley to move him to the seventh place match. Not at all discouraged, Gonzalez drew Terrell Moore of Campbellsville (Ky.) and used a slick move to pin his opponent in just 23 seconds. He finished his junior season with a 39-10 record.
Lakin and Gonzalez were two of six Oak wrestlers who qualified to compete at Nationals this season. Grand View (Iowa) won the team title. Grand View is the first team in NAIA wrestling history to win six-consecutive national titles. Additionally, the Vikings are only the fourth program in collegiate wrestling history (NAIA, NJCAA, NCAA). The other programs to do so are NCAA Division I Iowa (six-straight (1995-2000) and nine-straight (1978-1986)), NCAA Division I Oklahoma State (seven-straight (1937-1949)) and NCAA Division II Cal Poly (seven-straight (1968-1974)).
The Vikings ended the afternoon with 211.5 team points to eclipse 2016's team total of 210.0 points. Grand View has either tied or set a new scoring record in three out of the last four years.