Starks eliminated from Div. III Championships

The UW-Eau Claire wrestling season ended Sunday, as sophomore Davey Starks lost in the second round of the NCAA Div. III Championships at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

It was Starks’ second consecutive trip to the national tournament, wrestling at 125 pounds. He won his first match of the tournament 6-4 over Kevin Munley of Rhode Island. Anthony Conte, of the College of New Jersey, beat Starks 4-0 in the quarterfinals. Starks moved into the consolation bracket, losing 5-3 to Mike Shaw of Brockport State (NY.).

Starks finished the season with a 25-10 record, after finishing 27-14 in his freshman campaign. He repeated as the WIAC champion, winning the championship this year with a 10-7 victory over UW-Platteville’s Brian Olsen.

With a year of experience in the national tournament, Starks didn’t consider the experience to be that different.

“It was just like any other match,” he said. “It didn’t seem different at all.”

After his first-round bye, Starks got off to a quick start in his first match of the tournament, jumping to a 6-1 lead after the first period.

“I wrestled the first period very well,” he said. “I was able to just do whatever I wanted after that.”

In his semifinal match, Starks had a tough match against Conte. The match took a turn when Starks was called on an illegal headlock, and was penalized a point.

“I was on top of him for a moment, but he was able to get away,” Starks said.

Starks said he couldn’t get away. If he hadn’t been called for the headlock, the score would’ve been 1-0, Starks said.

After defeating Starks, Conte advanced to the championship match, where he lost to Augsburg’s (Minn.) Darin Bertram by a score of 7-4.

Starks said he was a little upset about the way his third match of the day ended. Shaw was able to get a takedown, and he couldn’t get out from underneath, Starks said.

“He got me on a lucky takedown, and then I had to get away from him,” Starks said. “I was able to get to my feet a couple of times, but he kept running out of bounds. He was stalling, but the ref didn’t call it.”

Starks said he also was not happy with his performance during the national tournament.

“I just didn’t wrestle very well,” he said.

Overall, Starks said he was happy with his team’s performance for the season, and he is confident about its chances for next year.

“The team did really well,” he said. “We didn’t wrestle very well in January, but we did better than expected.”

The team hopes to continue their success next year – the Blugolds are losing only one wrestler to graduation in Pete Peterson at heavyweight.

“The freshmen will be a year older,” Starks said. “We should be just as good if not better than we were this year.”