Ashland University wrestling redshirt sophomore Bret Romanzak and redshirt senior Luke Cramer were crowned national champions on Saturday (March 10) night at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Eagles placed fifth as a team at the 2018 Division II Wrestling National Championships. That's the team's best finish since placing fourth in 2002.
"That was a crazy experience," Cramer said. "Our coaches keep us on track and make sure we trust the process, so when we get to the end, we're where we need to be."
Cramer (197) and Romanzak (165) became Ashland's sixth and seventh champions in program history, and the firsts to win titles in the same season.
"It's amazing," fifth-year head coach Josh Hutchens said. "It's hard to even realize what just happened."
Romanzak is AU's first underclassman to win it all since Corey Kline won as a freshman in 1996.
"I've been dreaming of this day since the season ended last year," Romanzak said. "It was surreal to actually go out and live it."
Redshirt senior Jordan Murphy (184 pounds) stood on the podium for the second year in a row. He placed third with a 5-1 record, beating four nationally-ranked opponents along the way.
The trio of Ashland wrestlers didn't lose a match on Day 2, going 7-0.
"I can't think of a time where things have ever been perfect," Hutchens said. "Today was perfect."
Murphy beat the No. 10-, No. 9- and No. 3-ranked wrestlers on Saturday by scores of 9-1, 10-6 and 6-4, respectively. His third-place victory came over Cal Baptist redshirt junior Nick Fiegener, whom Murphy lost to in the quarterfinals on Day 1.
"Jordan is the glue that sticks this team together," Hutchens said. "He convinced a lot of these guys to come workout with him over the summer. He's been a great leader and a star for this program."
In the semifinals, Romanzak beat No. 3 senior Tyler Mann of Ouachita Baptist, 7-3. He won his final match over No. 2 senior Christian Smith of Cal Baptist.
Cramer was also an All-American is 2017 with a third-place finish. This year on Day 2, he beat Western State No. 4 redshirt sophomore Konnor Schmidt, 5-3, in the semis and St. Cloud State redshirt sophomore Vince Dietz, 5-1, in the championship.
The Eagles took sixth place at nationals last season led by a national title from 2017 senior Michael Labry.
"We have a lot of guys that love to work hard and get better," Romanzak said. "Iron sharpens iron. When you have everyone in the room fighting together, it shows on days like this."