Marion wrestlers place fifth in nation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Staff and Wire

MARION – The Marion Military Institute wrestling team returned from the NCWA National Tournament with a top-five finish.

The Tigers placed fifth out of 75 schools for the second year in a row after qualifying a school record 13 wrestlers.

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The highlight for Marion was sophomore Cee-Jay Hamilton in the 125-pound weight class, going for his second national championship in two years. The final match saw Hamilton (34-1) facing Isaac Wall (27-3), a junior from Newman University.

Hamilton earned the first points of the match and took a 3-2 lead into the second round. The score remained 3-2 until a violation was called on Hamilton, giving Wall a point and evening the score at 3. A technical violation was called on Wall early in the final round, and with an escape late in the final period, Hamilton held on for a 5-3 victory. He was named to the NWCA All-American team following his successful championship defense.

MMI freshman Ben Canning advanced to the finals after defeating Joey Heersche (Kansas State) in the 133-pound weight class. Canning (31-3) faced Aaron Kalil (17-4), a freshman from the United States Naval Academy Prep School for the national championship. Kalil swept the match 4-0.

Freshman Derrick Lucas finished seventh in the 157-pound weight class after defeating Steven Feeley (Georgia), and Lukas was named an All American.

Other MMI wrestlers that qualified for the national tournament were Robert Andrews, Derrick Miller, Kyler Kirkwood, Tyler Barberi, Reco Simmons, Shane Raymond, Ian Wrenn, Miguel Garcia, Jacob Pomeroy and Michael Lampkin.