Ram duo draws seeded foes at NCAA meet
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Men's Wrestling - Mon, Mar. 6, 2017

MOUNT VERNON – Cornell has crowned 18 wrestling all-Americans in the past 11 seasons under head coach Mike Duroe.

The Rams have two chances to add to that total at the NCAA Division III Championships, hosted by UW-La Crosse Friday and Saturday inside the La Crosse Center.

Cornell seniors Aaron Engle (SR/Kansas City, Mo.) at 149 pounds and Michael Maksimovic (SR/Northbrook, Ill.) at 174 will be among 180 competitors vying for medals this weekend. The top eight finishers in each of the 10 weight classes earn all-America recognition.

The Championships begin with preliminary-round matches at 11 a.m. Friday. The quarterfinals are later in the day at 6 p.m. Saturday's action starts with the semifinals at 10 a.m. The championship matches get underway at 7 Saturday night.

Engle (18-9), the Central Region runner-up, makes his second straight trip to nationals after going 1-2 in his NCAA debut at 157 a year ago. He opens against sixth-seeded Austin Kelley (18-3) of Olivet. The Engle/Kelley winner could face Ithaca's third-seeded Sam Schneider (31-1) in the quarterfinals.  

Two-time defending champion Kenny Martin (14-0) of Wartburg is the No. 1 seed in the 149-pound bracket. Engle gave Martin a battle in the region championship, leading the Knight wrestler in the final period before losing by fall.

Lycoming's No. 2 seed Seth Lansberry is the other returning all-American in this weight class. He placed fourth in 2016.

Maksimovic (24-10) earned his first berth to nationals with a second-place showing at the regional meet. He'll take on Messiah's top-seeded and defending NCAA champion Ben Swarr (35-3) in the first round. The winner meets Wabash's Darden Schurg (39-8) or Concordia's eighth-seeded Mason Mergener (24-7) in the quarters.

Maksimovic's deep weight class features five returning all-Americans, including 2016 NCAA runner-up Eric DeVos of Wartburg. Maksimovic built a big early lead over DeVos in the region title match before getting caught and pinned.

Maksimovic enters the tournament having won 16 of his last 18 matches.

In 2016, the Rams landed two all-Americans and finished 10th in the final team standings with 30.5 points.