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K-State Student from Wamego a 2007 National Collegiate Wrestling Champion

03/15/2007 -

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


MANHATTAN This year, Steve Kern got the gold.

The Kansas State University senior in construction science and management, Wamego, captured first place at the 2007 National Collegiate Wrestling Championships, March 8-10, at the Garland Special Events Center in Dallas.

As a team, the K-State Wrestling Club finished in the top 15 -- in 13th place -- at the championships. Nearly 70 collegiate teams competed.

Kern's championship was in the 184 pound weight class. He pinned four wrestlers to get to the final match, which he won 2-0. In addition to his championship, Kern, a team captain, is only the 14th person in National Collegiate Wrestling Association history to be named a four-time All-American.

At last year's championship, Kern finished second. He also is a former Wamego High School wrestler.

Head coach of the K-State Wrestling Club is Beau Tillman, who received the National Coach of the Year Award from the National Collegiate Wrestling Association.

"From a team standpoint, our goals have always been based on improvement and growth from the previous years, and we have definitely moved forward since last season," Tillman said. "Our guys did a great job at nationals. I was impressed."

Along with Kern, K-State students participating at the national championships included:

Gannon Reichert, sophomore in wildlife and fisheries biology, and Grant Reichert, senior in political science and philosophy, both of Dresden; Joey Martinez, sophomore in architectural engineering, Kansas City, Mo.; Ahsha Abu-Ali, sophomore in pre-veterinary medicine, Louisburg.

Donald Holliday, senior in pre-psychology, Manhattan; Derek Payne, freshman in computer science, McPherson; Joey Heersche, senior in secondary education-mathematics, Mulvane, assistant coach; and Paul Owings, sophomore in civil engineering, Plainville.

From out-of-state: Drew Welchert, senior in construction science and management, Fort Calhoun, Neb., assistant coach.

More information on the K-State Wrestling Club is available at

The National Collegiate Wrestling Association was created to serve schools that no longer have varsity wrestling programs. The association helps to build programs under the student services or recreational sports departments of universities. For more information about the association and results from the 2007 championships, go to

-Beth Bohn, 785-532-6415,

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