Two Chadron State College wrestlers finished their seasons in Cleveland on Friday, competing at the 2019 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. The Eagles’ 149-pounder Chase Clasen and 197-pounder Wade French both went 1-2 in the national meet, finishing their junior years among the sport’s elite.
Clasen was pitted against No. 2 ranked and NCAA Super Region 5 champion James Pleski in the opening round of the championship. The Eagles’ junior from Moses Lake, Washington, was the aggressor throughout the match but couldn’t take down the higher-ranked opponent in regulation. The match went to sudden victory overtime, where a shot by Clasen was deflected and turned into a takedown by Pleski, who avenged his only loss of the season.
CSC’s 149-pounder won his second bout of the afternoon against Limestone’s Matthew Rose, another regional champ. The 10-3 decision came after Clasen controlled the match from start to finish.
In Clasen’s final match Friday, No. 10 ranked Gavin Londoff scored the first takedown, with seconds left in the first period, and the Eagles’ junior was unable to score, losing 4-0 to the Midwest Classic runner-up after a riding time point was awarded to Londoff.
In the 197-pound bracket, CSC’s Wade French dropped a 9-4 decision to Upper Iowa University’s Nick Baumler, and was sent to a pigtail bracket in the consolation rounds.
There, he managed a 5-3 win over Lindenwood’s Jared McKindley, to advance back into the main bracket.
In his final match, he met a familar Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opponent in Khalil Gipson of Adams State. French had already vanquished Gipson twice, earlier in the year, with a 9-5 decision in a dual meet, and another 7-3 margin in the Super Region 6 finals. Gipson, a sophomore, scored a takedown and a crafty four-point nearfall early. While French gained over four minutes in riding time, down the stretch, and nearly missed scoring back points on multiple occasions, the ASU opponent advanced to the placing rounds on Saturday, winning 6-2.
Both Clasen and French represent the 51st consecutive team of Chadron State wrestlers to qualify at least one team member for the national meet. The pair were the first in the same academic year to enter the NCAA postseason as a tandem since 2007.