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2012-13 Stories of the Year (No. 1): Sanders claims national title

2012-13 Stories of the Year (No. 1): Sanders claims national title

MEQUON, Wis. - There were many great and inspiring athletic achievements throughout the 2012-13 athletic year at Concordia University Wisconsin. The list of top stories could have gone on and on, but only six were chosen (honorable mention and top five).

The list was compiled by the CUW Athletic Communications Department and a committee of coaches, and like all lists it is subject to debate. The list of stories will be revealed over the next six weeks with a story being released each Tuesday.

No. 1
Sanders claims national title

March 16 will be a day Greg Sanders will never forget.

The 149 lb. wrestler woke up that morning already knowing he was an All-American after earning a pair of victories during the opening day of the NCAA Division III Championships. The sophomore advanced to the title match on Saturday with a 4-2 win in the semifinals over Vincent Pisani of York College. After two scoreless periods, Sanders scored his four points in the third to win and it was the first time he was scored on in the championships.

When Sanders returned to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena later Saturday afternoon he was prepared to become the first national champion in program history. His night began by walking in the Parade of All-Americans and after three other title matches it was time for Sanders to shine on the big stage.

His opponent was defending 141 lb. national champion Kodie Silvestri of Wartburg College. Silvestri entered the match with a 23-2 record and was scored upon just once in his first three matches at the championships.

In the first period Silvestri and Sanders went back-and-forth with Silvestri striking first with a takedown, but Sanders answered with a reversal and added a takedown late in the opening period, building a 4-3 lead.

Silvestri earned an escape in the second period to know the scoreboard at 4-4 entering the final third period and final two minutes of regulation. Late in the third frame Sanders scored a reversal, arguably the highlight of the entire tournament, giving him the Falcons their first national champion.

For his efforts Sanders was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Most Outstanding Wrestler. He finished the season 40-4 and his four victories at the NCAA Championships earned CUW 23 points, which was good for 11th place in the team standings. Sanders also set program records for wins (40) and wins by fall (16), and is currently tied for sixth all-time with 77 victories.

Greg Sanders found himself at the top of the podium on the national stage after an incredible 2012-13 season and will return for his junior season with visions of becoming a repeat national champion.

Sanders wins opening match
VIDEO: Highlights from Session One
Sanders clinches All-American status
VIDEO: Interview with All-American Greg Sanders 
Sanders secures spot in finals match
Sanders wins 149 lb. national championship
VIDEO: Highlights of national champion Greg Sanders
VIDEO : 149 lb. championship match

2012-13 Stories of the Year:
No. 2:
Damaschke has breakout season
No. 3:
 Milestones set on January 19, 2013
No. 4: Women's Golf is young, talented
No. 5: Men's Tennis continues NAC dominance
HM: Men's Hockey enjoys taste of success