|Posted by Jason Nickal on April 19, 2012 at 11:55 AM|
BY Kevin Hageland, email@example.com
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:12 PM CDT
Two months ago, Allen wrestlers Oliver Pierce and Bo Nickal were piling up points to help the Eagles win another state title.
Pierce and Nickal weren't done there though as those two expanded their fields of competition two weeks ago, traveling to the USA Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa and bringing home dual individual national titles.
Pierce and Nickal competed for Best Trained Wrestling, which is helmed by Allen head coach Jerry Best, against a field of more than 1,300 grapplers.
"You had guys from 43 different states competing, so this was the best of the best; one of the toughest tournaments in the nation," Best said. "And those two guys, Bo and Oliver, put in a lot of extra work, so it's really great for them to accomplish this."
It was the second major triumph for Nickal in the span of six weeks as he had also won the UIL State Championship at 145 pounds. Nickal bumped up to 152 pounds for nationals and won his second consecutive USA Folkstyle National Championship. Nickal competed in the Cadet division, which is essentially for freshmen and sophomores.
Nickal blitzed his competition early, defeating two foes via pinfall before pulling out a 14-12 quarterfinal victory over Mark Hall, who is ranked No. 2 in the country at 145.
"That was a big win," Best said. "Bo caught him in a double-overhook throw early for five points and was then able to wrestle conservatively, at least by his standards, the rest of the way."
After a 16-1 tech fall win in the semis, Nickal was put to the test by Dustin Williams (East Kansas) in the finals with Nickal pulling out a 9-7 double-overtime win.
Nickal can now display his national title trophy alongside his individual state one, something Pierce couldn't do this season.
Pierce finished second individually at state, which may have motivated him in Iowa.
"I think Oliver went in there feeling like he had something to prove after what happened at state," Best said.
Consider that point proven after Pierce went 6-0 in the 152 Junior division.
"Oliver wrestled really well," Best said. "He didn't give up any offensive points during the tournament."
Scoring two pins and a majority decision en route to the finals, Pierce was dominant in the championship match as well as he scored a 16-4 majority decision over Archie Colgan (Pomona).
Though not bringing home a national title, Best Trained Wrestling did have another competitor taking part in the event in Matt Meyer. Competing in the 160 Junior division during the two-day event, Meyer (another member of Allen's dual and UIL state-winning teams) went 4-2 and was one match from earning All-American honors.
"Matt doesn't have too much experience in these national events," Best said, "so this was a good start for him."
Start being the operative word as Allen grapplers have a busy summer ahead, filled with what Best hopes are more national and potentially even world titles.