Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not So Sunny Florida Tourney No Place for Lions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not So Sunny Florida Tourney No Place for Lions

Article excerpt

For the first time in four years, the Lindenwood College wrestling team had no one place at the Sunshine Open.

The tournament, held this year in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., draws top wrestlers from all over the United States. In other years, the Lions have fared well there.

But not this year.

"It's a great tournament," Lindenwood coach Stacy Weiland said. "It d

raws some of the best guys from all over the country, including a lot of Division I-level guys. We didn't do as well as we've done in the past there, but that's all right. The 16 guys who made the trip faced some good competition and gained some valuable experience.

"In the past, we've used this tournament to get us going for the rest of the season and I'm confident that'll be the case again this year."

The Lions' top wrestlers in Florida were Eric Piper and Brett Williams.

"Brett moved up to 134 and got hurt and had to drop out, but I thought Eric did a real good job," Weiland said. "He wrestled strong against some good competition."

The Lions, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA preseason poll, were without many of their top wrestlers for the trip to Florida.

"It's an optional trip and this year it just seemed like more of our starters decided they'd rather spend the holidays at home than in Florida. And that's fine," Weiland said. "With a full team, I think we would've done well. But the guys who made the trip came away with something positive and hopefully the rest of the team will be ready to go when we get back after the break."

The second semester at Lindenwood started Monday.

The trip to Florida could prove to be a valuable one for Weiland, who made some key recruiting contacts there.

"It's an open tournament, so I ran into some top guys who aren't in school right now," the coach said. "The details still have to be worked out, but I'm hoping to get a couple of guys into the program for next year and maybe even pick up somebody who can help us this year. …

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