Freshman Robbie Collum became Shorter University’s first individual conference champion by winning the 149-pound weight class and leading the Hawks to a fourth-place finish at the 2011 Mid-South Conference Wrestling Tournament in Lebanon, Tenn., on Saturday afternoon.
The 16th-ranked Hawks finished with 64 points, just 4.5 points behind third-place finisher Cumberland University, and had six athletes record top-four finishes in their respective weight classes.
“Today was a great day for Shorter Wrestling,” said head coach Josh Henson, who in one year has propelled the Hawks into the NAIA Top 20 Poll. “We continue to get better each day and I was proud of the effort that our guys put forth today.”
Collum, a South Effingham High School grad who entered the Mid-South Championships unseeded in the conference at 149, upset top-seeded Matt Milton of Campbellsville University 9-4 and then scored a 3-2 decision over fifth-seeded Derek Murdock of the University of the Cumberlands to reach the final.
In the title match, Collum earned a 5-2 decision over unseeded Jacob Stephens of Campbellsville to make history as the school’s first conference champion.
Collum’s efforts also earned him Mid-South Freshman of the Year honors.
“For Robbie to enter today unseeded and accomplish what he did is phenomenal,” said Henson.
Raleigh Abbott, the nation’s No. 3-ranked 165-pounder who was seeded third in the Mid-South Championships, finished third with a 19-6 major decision over Cumberland University’s Zeke Hunt. Jesse Miller, who was unseeded, placed third at 141 with a 5-4 victory over fourth-seed Scott Flesher of Lindsey Wilson in the third-place match. George Monroe bounced back from a defeat in the quarterfinal round of the 197-pound tournament to place third.
Campbellsville won the team championship with 135.5 points. The Tigers had six wrestlers win individual titles and two more take runner-up finishes in their respective weight classes.
Shorter will participate in the East Region Qualifier in St. Charles, Mo., next Saturday.