Every season, Elmhurst wrestling coach Steve Marianetti sets two goals for his squad: capture the CCIW conference championship and bring home a team trophy from the NCAA championship.
On Sunday, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Elmhurst wrestling team checked off the second goal on their coach’s list and closed the book on the most successful season in Elmhurst wrestling history.
The Bluejays’ success in Iowa this past weekend set a new standard for Elmhurst wrestling: a second-place team finish, five All-Americans and two individual national champions. Senior Joe Rau (184 pounds) and senior Mike Benefiel (197 pounds) both finished their collegiate wrestling careers as national champions, All-Americans and with a share of the second place team trophy.
Three other Bluejays also earned All-American honors: Ryan Earley (141 pounds) finished fourth, Miguel Venecia (125 pounds) finished fifth and Dalton Bullard (133 pounds) finished seventh.
Along with leading the Bluejay Wrestlers to their the historic season, Marianetti was named NWCA Division III National Coach of the Year for the second time in his career and Assistant Coach John Jung was named the NWCA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year. After the meet Marianetti already had his eye on the future, but did admit that he and his team will “enjoy this for a little while.”