Photo: Wrestling Coach Mike Machholz and three All-American wrestlers: Gabi Musallam, Josh Manu, and Jake Ekster (Photo by Laura Lewis)
Story by Andrew Pulverenti
The Missouri Valley College men’s wrestling team finishes its 2013-2014 season as the No. 6 ranked team in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll.
The Vikings finished the season in sixth place at the NAIA Wrestling National Championships in Topeka, Kan., earlier this month. Three Vikings finished as All-Americans, by placing in the top eight of their respective weight classes. Sophomore Jake Ekster (Houston, Texas) at 149 pounds, Senior Josh Manu (North Providence, R.I.) at 197 pounds and Sophomore Gabi Musallam (San Diego, Calif.) at 285 pounds all earned All-American status at the National tournament. The No. 6 ranking is the highest the Vikings have been ranked in the postseason poll, since earning the No. 5 ranking to end the 2010-2011 season.
The Vikings finished the season with a dual record of 11-5, and were NAIA Central Qualifying Tournament runners-up.
Three Vikings were also featured in the individual rankings. Ekster finished the season ranked No. 3 in the 149 pound weight class, Manu was ranked No. 4 in the 197 pound weight class and Musallam was ranked No. 3 at 285 pounds.
Photo: 2014 NAIA National Wrestling Qualifiers with coaches in Topeka. Front row, from left: Riley Boomer, Gabi Musallum, Coach Pat Giangrosso, Ryan Stearns. Middle row, from left: Head Coach Mike Machholz, Nico Martinez (who was wearing sunglasses because of a concussion), Jake Ekster, Dylan King, and Logan Welch. Back row, from left: Josh Manu, Coach Travis Ewart, and Dan Mueller. Not pictured: Carl Lawrence. (Photo by Laura Lewis)
Photo below: Coach Mike Machholz holds the Champions of Character award for the community service work by the team. (Photo by Laura Lewis)