Goetz and Johnson prepared for NCAA III Championships

Goetz and Johnson prepared for NCAA III Championships

2018 NCAA Division III Championships Website
2018 NCAA Division III Brackets

The collegiate wrestling season is a long, grueling five-plus months, but this weekend two Pioneers get to put all of their hard work on the line at the NCAA III Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. Jon Goetz and D'Andre Johnson, who qualified for the championships via the NCAA III Upper Midwest Regional on February 23-24, will compete for a national title on March 9-10 at the Cleveland Public Auditorium.

Goetz is making his third NCAA Championship appearance after winning the 174 pound bracket at the Upper Midwest Regional. The junior was one of just five wrestlers in the country from all weights to not give up a single point at the regional meet. Goetz's record of 25-1 is second best in the nation at 174 pounds, and he was awarded the five seed in the 18 wrestler bracket. His first round matchup will be against Nathan Fritz (19-3) from Central College.

Johnson is wrestling at the NCAA Championships for the second time in his career after finishing runner-up at the regional meet at 285 pounds. He is 21-4 on the season and will face fifth-ranked Jake Evans (46-3) from Waynesburg University in the first round of the bracket. Of Johnson's 21 victories this season, 10 have come by pin.

Goetz and Johnson seek to become the first NCAA All-Americans for UW-Platteville since Jesse Milks in 2010.

Grant Wedepohl (28-2), who was runner-up at the Upper Midwest Regional, withdrew from the NCAA Championships on Monday due to injury. Earlier this season, Wedepohl became the first ever Pioneer to be ranked number one in the country.

      Jon Goetz                                           D'Andre Johnson

In his fourth season as head coach at UW-Platteville, Mike DeRoehn has guided at least three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in each season. Prior to his arrival in the 2015 season, the Pioneers hadn't qualified more than two wrestlers for the championships since 2007.

"We are grateful to head back to the NCAA Championships with some highly skilled, proven competitors like Jon and D'Andre. I'm so proud to be their coach, excited to help them reach their potential and see just how good we can get. Obviously we are disappointed that Grant is unable to compete, especially considering the type of quality student-athlete he is and how committed he is to living a championship lifestyle. However, I'm confident he will transform this temporary setback into a rewarding comeback in his senior season."