Halfway through his collegiate career, Evan Potter is on track to place himself among the all-time great Southern Oregon men’s wrestlers after a third-place finish in the NAIA Championships on Saturday at Hartman Arena.
The sophomore from Junction City came through in overtime of his 133-pound placing match to complete the first top-three showing for a Raider since 2016. After taking sixth as a freshman last year, he finished his second season with a 25-3 record.
Potter, seeded No. 7 in the bracket, got through the quarterfinals by discarding the Nos. 10 and 15 seeds by decision on Friday. He ran into Olympian Gulomjon Abdullaev, the No. 3 seed out of Menlo (Calif.), in the semifinals and fell by 11-0 major decision, but quickly recovered for a 3-1 win over No. 8 Joe Lupton of Graceland (Iowa) in the consolation semis.
Potter had to come from behind to upset No. 4 Blake Mulkey of Marian (Ind.) for third place. After tying the match with an escape in the third period, he won it with a takedown 15 seconds into the extra session for a 3-1 decision.
Potter is the 71st individual in SOU men’s wrestling history with multiple All-America showings. Twenty-eight Raiders have become three-time All-Americans, and only seven have achieved top-eight status four times.
The Raiders’ four other qualifiers were eliminated Friday. They finished with 17 ½ team points – 13 ½ of which Potter amassed – and were tied for 25th place entering the finals, guaranteed to finish no lower than 26th.
COMPLETE SOU RESULTS
133 – No. 7 Evan Potter (3rd place)
Round of 32 – Potter received a bye
Round of 16 – Potter dec. No. 10 CaRon Watson, Briar Cliff, 7-5
Quarterfinals – Potter dec. No. 15 Sammy Shires, Cumberland, 5-2
Semifinals – No. 3 Gulomjon Abdullaev, Menlo, major dec. Potter, 11-0
Consolation Semifinals – Potter dec. No. 8 Joe Lupton, Graceland, 3-1
3rd-Place Match – Potter dec. No. 4 Blake Mulkey, Marian, 3-1 (SV)
149 – No. 6 Aaron Gandara
Round of 32 – Gandara dec. Christopher Gaxiola, Menlo, 7-1
Round of 16 – No. 11 Nick Gates, Indiana tech, dec. Gandara, 5-3 (SV)
Consolation R2 – Gandara dec. Daniel Terronez, St. Ambrose, 8-5
Consolation R3 – No. 14 Dayton Marvel, Campbellsville, p. Gandara, 2:08
174 – No. 7 Alex Hernandez
Round of 32 – Rylin Burns, MSU-Northern, dec. Hernandez, 3-1 (SV)
Consolation R1 – Cory Cannan, Lindsey Wilson, dec. Hernandez, 4-0
197 – Andrew Herrera
Round of 32 – Herrera dec. No. 5 Garavous Kouekabakilaho, Grand View, 3-1 (SV)
Round of 16 – Herrera dec. No. 12 Kyle Scott, Rochester, 8-3
Quarterfinals – No. 4 Malachi Karibo, Baker, major dec. Herrera, 10-0
Consolation R4 – No. 2 Bradley Antesberger, Doane, dec. Herrera, 6-0
285 – Antonio Garcia
Round of 32 – No. 3 Austin Harris, Life, p. Garcia, 4:19
Consolation R1 – Garcia dec. Darron Harvey, Central Baptist, 4-3
Consolation R2 – No. 4 Gage Braun, Southeastern, dec. Garcia, 8-1