Naig Earns National Championship For Wartburg
A former Emmetsburg prep standout helped lead the Knights of Wartburg College to their sixth national wrestling championship this past weekend in Cedar Rapids. Jacob Naig, the son of Dallas and Lois Naig, earned a National Championship at 149 pounds in the process.
Naig, a junior for Wartburg, was one of the three Knight wrestlers to earn individual titles at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III Tournament, which was wrestled at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids last weekend. For Wartburg, the team championship is the sixth title the Knights have earned since 1996. In addition, Wartburg keeps its string of having at least one National Champion in its lineup for a sixth consecutive year, and gives the Waverly school a total of 27 National Champions.
Naig wasn’t the only Wartburg wrestler with local ties to earn honors at the Nationals. Robert Struthers, a senior wrestling at 125 pounds, would finish fourth in the tournament. Struthers, the son of Randy and Teresa Struthers of Ruthven, wrestled with Naig as a member of the Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted E’Hawks for Former Head Coach Bob Kenny during their prep careers.
Also earning honors was former Pocahontas Area prep standout Aaron Wernimont, a junior wrestling at 157 pounds, who also won a National Title during the tournament.
In addition, both Naig and Struthers, former members of the Emmetsburg E’Hawk wrestling program, earned All American recognition for their efforts, along with seven fellow Knights. For Naig, it was his third All-American honor.
Wartburg has now accumulated the enviable mark of having 140 All Americans in its wrestling program, with at least one honoree per year, dating back to 1988.
“We had a couple disappointments at the end, but we had six national finalists and nine all-Americans, so I really feel good,” said Wartburg coach Jim Miller. “We kept raising the bar on them, and they kept climbing over it all year long.”
For Naig, the National Championship and All American honors cap off an outstanding season at Wartburg, as he earned the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship (IIAC) at 149 pounds in the league tournament on Feb. 20.
Naig also was named the IIAC’s Wrestler of the Week December 2, 2007, and earned Special Mention just two weeks later after earning his 20th win of the season.
Robert Struthers completed the season with a a third place finish in the IIAC Tournament on Feb. 20, but was also named the IIAC’s Wrestler of the Week on Feb. 3 by conference officials, after earning his 30th win of the season.