LA CROSSE, Wis. — Senior 165-pounder Nolan Barger of Clearfield will end his outstanding wrestling career for Lycoming College in the La Crosse Center Saturday afternoon as the first three-time All-American in program history after winning two of his three matches at the NCAA Division III Championships Friday.
The two-time bronze medalist had his hopes of becoming a national champion crushed in a 3-2 quarterfinal loss to No. 2 seed Stephen Jarrell of Johnson & Wales University, but he bounced back to pin No. 5 seed Connor Brummett of Wabash College and clinch a medal.
The Warriors’ Mideast Region runner-up and No. 6 seed goes into the 11 a.m. third session with the opportunity to finish as high as third place again.
Barger got off to a great start in the tourney hosted by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
He was leading 8-1 when he pinned Nick Herring (24-5) of The College of New Jersey at 3:32.
After getting behind the East Region runner-up and hoisting and depositing him on the mat for an early takedown, Barger countered a deep takedown shot by working in a double under hook and then elevating Herring and flipping him right to his back for a six-point move.
Up to start the second period, Barger barred Herring’s arm to turn him for the fall.
Barger and Jarrell (43-2) spent most of their quarterfinal match on their feet, with the Lycoming standout’s escape at the start of the third period to tie it at 1-1.
Barger went on the attack late, but Jarrell countered for the winning takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining. Barger’s attempt for the tying reversal ended with an escape as time expired.
Against Brummett (33-3), he surrendered the initial takedown but escaped and engineered a go-ahead takedown before cradling the Midwest Region runner-up for his 16th pin of the season at 2:26.
Barger (36-3) is paired against No. 8 seed Andrew Steiert (15-2) of Wartburg in the consolation quarterfinals. They met in the consolation semifinals two years ago when Steiert was the No. 1 seed, and Barger came from behind in the third period to win 6-3.
Wrestling in Saturday morning’s championship semifinals will be Lycoming senior 149-pounder Seth Lansberry, who was 40-0 but seeded second behind returning champion Kenny Martin (16-0) of Wartburg. The Line Mountain High School grad advanced with a pair of shutout victories.
Following that round, the consolation quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested to set the matches for third, fifth and seventh places. The championship finals are set for 8 p.m.