Carson Taylor and Shea Ruffridge are preparing for the postseason and have started the race with conference titles.
Taylor, a 2020 Fort Dodge graduate and state champion, captured his third Heart of America Athletic Conference title.
“It was a great feeling to see everyone on the team win at every weigh-in,” Taylor said. “I felt like we dominated and showed that we are on a different level.”
Ruffridge, a 2018 Pocahontas Area graduate and state champion, won his third championship.
“It’s good to go to nationals with positive momentum,” said Ruffridge. “This season has gone by really fast and I’m just excited to show all the hard work my teammates and I have put in this year.”
The two helped lead the Vikings to their eighth straight conference championship and the first two ever crown champions at each weight.
With the Nationals a week away, they will be looking to help Grand View return back-to-back as National Champions.
The National Championships will be held in Wichita, Kansas next Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4.
The Vikings returned to the top of the NAIA last year, as their streak of nine consecutive national titles ended in 2021.
Taylor, who collected 121 hits as a Dodger, spanned the HAAC field to win two games in the fall and beat Graceland’s Joseph Lupton 10-2 for his second crown.
“I can say that we are all ready to go and will continue to improve as we head into the nationals,” said Taylor. “This season has been fantastic.
“My wrestling has improved. It’s great to see the results.”
Taylor finished as runner-up in 2022 and was a conference champion as a true freshman.
Entering his third postseason, Taylor has already picked up fourth-and-third-place finishes at the national tournament, and as a top-level 133-pound NAIA wrestler, he will likely be the top seed next week at the national tournament.
In his four years on campus, Taylor garnered major honors, being ranked an All-American in both of his first two seasons. Taylor (22-3), in three seasons is 71-13 in his career.
“I’ve had a few losses and I wish I could have those games back,” Taylor said. “Since we are approaching the end of the season, I am more confident and stuck.
“I’m ready to put on a show at the national teams.”
Ruffridge, who ranks fourth in the nation at 141 pounds, had a technical fall and a decision before beating Graceland’s Jackson Wenberg 13-3 for the league crown.
Ruffridge placed third last year and was a National Qualifier as a freshman.
“The national tournament is just another tournament,” Ruffridge said. “Go in there. I fought hard, solid, smart and good things will happen for myself – I trust.”
—Photo by Doug Wells/Grand View Athletics Fort Dodge graduate Carson Taylor celebrates a victory for the Vikings. Taylor recently won his second Heart of America Athletics Conference title. — Photo by Doug Wells/Grand View Pocahontas Area Athletics graduate Shea Ruffridge fights for the Vikings. Ruffridge recently won his third Heart of America Athletics Conference title.