Ashland University redshirt sophomore Tristen Weirich finished sixth at the NCAA Division II Nationals on Saturday (March 8).
"I think he performed well," said Ashland wrestling head coach Josh Hutchens. "First time here, all the nerves, all the pressure, and getting out there as a sophomore, to get on the podium is a big deal. Sixth place is not as high as he wants, but it's still pretty good. There have been a lot of guys that have been here as seniors that haven't gotten on the podium or placed that high."
"It's nice to say I'm an All-American, but ultimately the other stuff overrides that right now," said Weirich. "It's going to be a lot of offseason work, a lot of lifting, and traveling to wrestle better guys."
Weirich made his first trip to nationals in 2019 after finishing third in the NCAA Super Regional competition. He became an All-American in his first try with his sixth-place finish.
Weirich opened the day in the consolation bracket third-round match against Newberry's Patton Gossett. He won by a 6-5 decision to advance to the consolation semifinal. Weirich matched up against two-time national runner-up Kameron Teacher of Notre Dame. He bested Teacher on Jan. 12, a 10-4 decision that day, over the nation's No. 1 at the time. In the national tournament matchup, it was Teacher who got the better of Ashland's Weirich, a 14-5 major decision. In the fifth-place match, Simon Fraser's Ciaran Ball won by 4-1 decision over Weirich.
"I know he knows deep down he can do better, and that's going to drive him the rest of his career," said Hutchens. "Hopefully, he has that confidence now and he knows what he's capable of."
Having this experience moving forward will be important to the rest of Weirich's career.
"I definitely think that having success is crucial. You work really hard and to see that pay off with the All-American status, now you can say, 'hey, I can continue this path and I'm going to see great things'," said Hutchens.