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The NAIA Heart of America Conference Results and Thoughts


Tanner Abbas, GV

I’d like to start this article out by thanking Track Wrestling (the best wrestling website ever, btw) for supplying these results that allowed me to put my scavenger pants on and copy and paste into this entry!  This has been done several times before, by several sources and no one ever thanks them! Saved me an hour that I would have spent typing them out! Good stuff.

2 of The Pin Doctors’ own contributors wrestled and did well in this tournament. Justin Portillo placed 2nd, defaulted his finals match. He has helped a bit with the D1 rankings that his brother Joshua Portillo puts together for us. Brennan Swafford won it at 165 and was named Outstanding Wrestler for the 2nd year in a row. He helps with the graphic design on the site. With that said, I’m not going to proclaim this website as the best wrestling website ever quite yet, but we, hands down, have the toughest motor scooters contributing for us. I feel sorry for anyone who ever tries to mess with one of those PIN DOCTOR guys!!!

Justin Portillo, Grand View

Brennan Swafford, Graceland, was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament for the 2nd year in a row.

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Emmanuel Browne of Baker (Kan.)
2nd Place – Justin Portillo of Grand View (Iowa)
3rd Place – Blake Bills of Missouri Valley
4th Place – Dante Venema of Dickinson State (n.d.)
5th Place – Arie Reyes of Waldorf (Iowa)
6th Place – Nadhelo Charles-Pierre of William Penn (Iowa)
1st Place Match
Emmanuel Browne (Baker (Kan.)) 26-3, Sr. over Justin Portillo (Grand View (Iowa)) 21-6, RS Jr. (M. For.)
3rd Place Match
Blake Bills (Missouri Valley) 3-1, RS Fr. over Dante Venema (Dickinson State (n.d.)) 1-2, Fr. (Fall 0:21)
5th Place Match
Arie Reyes (Waldorf (Iowa)) 13-16, Jr. over Nadhelo Charles-Pierre (William Penn (Iowa)) 9-20, . (Dec 2-1)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Shea Ruffridge of Grand View (Iowa)
2nd Place – Gresh Jones of Dickinson State (n.d.)
3rd Place – Dante Tacchia of Grand View (Iowa)
4th Place – Dequarius Millett of Missouri Valley
5th Place – Zane Baugh of Baker (Kan.)
6th Place – Darquell Pierre of William Penn (Iowa)
1st Place Match
Shea Ruffridge (Grand View (Iowa)) 21-5, RS Fr. over Gresh Jones (Dickinson State (n.d.)) 2-1, RS Sr. (Dec 7-3)
3rd Place Match
Dante Tacchia (Grand View (Iowa)) 19-9, RS So. over Dequarius Millett (Missouri Valley) 2-2, RS So. (MD 8-0)
5th Place Match
Zane Baugh (Baker (Kan.)) 24-10, RS Sr. over Darquell Pierre (William Penn (Iowa)) 16-16, . (Dec 4-2)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Kendon Lee of Grand View (Iowa)
2nd Place – Zachary Durbin of Missouri Valley
3rd Place – Jaime Mullins of Dickinson State (n.d.)
4th Place – Asiel Flores of Baker (Kan.)
5th Place – Kahlyn Bressler of Graceland University
6th Place – Joseph Rice of Missouri Valley
1st Place Match
Kendon Lee (Grand View (Iowa)) 18-4, Jr. over Zachary Durbin (Missouri Valley) 2-1, RS Sr. (MD 8-0)
3rd Place Match
Jaime Mullins (Dickinson State (n.d.)) 4-1, RS Sr. over Asiel Flores (Baker (Kan.)) 22-10, So. (Dec 6-4)
5th Place Match
Kahlyn Bressler (Graceland University) 14-9, Sr. over Joseph Rice (Missouri Valley) 3-3, RS Fr. (MD 10-1)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Tanner Abbas of Grand View (Iowa)
2nd Place – Richard Pocock of Missouri Valley
3rd Place – Trey Heckadon of Graceland University
4th Place – Joe Eads of William Penn (Iowa)
5th Place – Casper Sherow of Missouri Valley
6th Place – Keenan Graef of Benedictine College
1st Place Match
Tanner Abbas (Grand View (Iowa)) 28-8, RS Fr. over Richard Pocock (Missouri Valley) 3-1, RS Sr. (MD 10-2)
3rd Place Match
Trey Heckadon (Graceland University) 10-5, RS Sr. over Joe Eads (William Penn (Iowa)) 23-16, . (Dec 5-1)
5th Place Match
Casper Sherow (Missouri Valley) 3-2, Sr. over Keenan Graef (Benedictine College) 10-8, Jr. (For.)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer of Grand View (Iowa)
2nd Place – Dalton Jensen of Grand View (Iowa)
3rd Place – Colby Johnson of Baker (Kan.)
4th Place – Israel Casarez of Graceland University
5th Place – Michael Hummer of Benedictine College
6th Place – Shea Swafford of Graceland University
1st Place Match
Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Grand View (Iowa)) 19-2, RS Sr. over Dalton Jensen (Grand View (Iowa)) 22-7, RS Fr. (Dec 6-3)
3rd Place Match
Colby Johnson (Baker (Kan.)) 9-3, Jr. over Israel Casarez (Graceland University) 22-6, RS So. (SV-2 5-2)
5th Place Match
Michael Hummer (Benedictine College) 8-14, Jr. over Shea Swafford (Graceland University) 16-8, Sr. (Dec 8-6)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Brennan Swafford of Graceland University
2nd Place – Giovanni Bonilla of Grand View (Iowa)
3rd Place – Kyle Caldwell of Grand View (Iowa)
4th Place – Isaiah Luellen of Baker (Kan.)
5th Place – Drew Sams of Graceland University
6th Place – Elias Vaoifi of Missouri Valley
1st Place Match
Brennan Swafford (Graceland University) 24-4, So. over Giovanni Bonilla (Grand View (Iowa)) 27-6, RS So. (Fall 1:56)
3rd Place Match
Kyle Caldwell (Grand View (Iowa)) 20-3, Jr. over Isaiah Luellen (Baker (Kan.)) 25-7, RS Fr. (Dec 3-2)
5th Place Match
Drew Sams (Graceland University) 17-8, Jr. over Elias Vaoifi (Missouri Valley) 1-3, RS So. (Dec 8-2)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Lucas Lovvorn of Baker (Kan.)
2nd Place – William Seibert of Missouri Valley
3rd Place – Jensen McDermott of Benedictine College
4th Place – Darwin Diaz of William Penn (Iowa)
5th Place – Konrich Speelmon of Dickinson State (n.d.)
6th Place – Robert Denny of Graceland University
1st Place Match
Lucas Lovvorn (Baker (Kan.)) 36-0, RS Sr. over William Seibert (Missouri Valley) 2-1, RS Jr. (TF-1.5 6:00 (16-0))
3rd Place Match
Jensen McDermott (Benedictine College) 12-12, So. over Darwin Diaz (William Penn (Iowa)) 7-20, . (Dec 5-0)
5th Place Match
Konrich Speelmon (Dickinson State (n.d.)) 2-2, . over Robert Denny (Graceland University) 12-14, RS Jr. (Dec 12-5)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Kendrick Jones of Grand View (Iowa)
2nd Place – Jacob Smith of Baker (Kan.)
3rd Place – Dayton Brown of Missouri Valley
4th Place – Tyson Albright of Benedictine College
5th Place – Justin Outerbridge of Graceland University
6th Place – Kyle Anderson of Dickinson State (n.d.)
1st Place Match
Kendrick Jones (Grand View (Iowa)) 23-3, Sr. over Jacob Smith (Baker (Kan.)) 25-7, Sr. (Dec 6-5)
3rd Place Match
Dayton Brown (Missouri Valley) 3-1, So. over Tyson Albright (Benedictine College) 12-12, So. (Fall 3:53)
5th Place Match
Justin Outerbridge (Graceland University) 16-12, So. over Kyle Anderson (Dickinson State (n.d.)) 1-3, So. (Dec 6-0)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Evan Hansen of Grand View (Iowa)
2nd Place – David Dow of Baker (Kan.)
3rd Place – Payson Dirk of Dickinson State (n.d.)
4th Place – Brendon Shelton of Central Methodist
5th Place – James Howey of Waldorf (Iowa)
6th Place – Oliver Severance of Benedictine College
1st Place Match
Evan Hansen (Grand View (Iowa)) 14-0, RS Sr. over David Dow (Baker (Kan.)) 30-3, RS Sr. (Dec 2-0)
3rd Place Match
Payson Dirk (Dickinson State (n.d.)) 3-1, Sr. over Brendon Shelton (Central Methodist) 3-6, . (TF-1.5 2:59 (16-1))
5th Place Match
James Howey (Waldorf (Iowa)) 4-5, RS Jr. over Oliver Severance (Benedictine College) 3-12, So. (Fall 5:22)

Guaranteed Places
1st Place – Shawn Beeson of Graceland University
2nd Place – Matt Kent of Grand View (Iowa)
3rd Place – Joshua Isaac of Missouri Valley
4th Place – David Toese of Graceland University
5th Place – Jonathon Morris of Missouri Valley
6th Place – Casey Jones of Dickinson State (n.d.)
1st Place Match
Shawn Beeson (Graceland University) 14-2, RS Sr. over Matt Kent (Grand View (Iowa)) 19-6, RS Sr. (TB-1 2-1)
3rd Place Match
Joshua Isaac (Missouri Valley) 3-1, RS Fr. over David Toese (Graceland University) 19-11, Fr. (MD 13-3)
5th Place Match
Jonathon Morris (Missouri Valley) 3-2, RS Sr. over Casey Jones (Dickinson State (n.d.)) 2-3, RS Sr. (SV-2 4-2)


  • 125: I hope Justin Portillo (Grand View) is healthy. He forfeited his finals match to Emmannuel Browne from Baker. Could be a seeding thing for nationals. Portillo beat Browne earlier this season. These are the top 2 guys in the nation at this weight.
  • 133: I’m not a guy that feels a ton of excitement or joy from situations where I can say to someone, “I told you so.”  Probably because I am just…always right and have  gotten used to it! 🙂 With that said…Shea Ruffridge (Grand View) and Dante Tacchia (Grand View) placed 1st and 3rd and punched their tickets to nationals.  Ok, I admit, it makes me happy when I claim someone as a “sleeper recruit” when they are in HS and they go on to have success and prove me right..  I said that about both Ruffridge and Tacchia.
  • I admit, I don’t know any of the guys at 141 with an exception of Bressler from Graceland who placed 5th. Another Grand View guy won it.  Listen… I have the obvious connections to Graceland with my brothers wrestling there and being in great hands there…and they seem happy! I have tons of Graceland apparel that I will wear to events without shame. That doesn’t mean that I can let a bias like that cloud my judgement or my emotions.  With that said, if someone tells me that they hate Grand View, I just assume that it’s because of the success they’ve had. They are an NAIA dynasty and Coach Nick Mitchell is a legend. If you are unable to admit or accept that, you are either delusional or a hater.  They have been doing everything right.
  • 149: What is it today, 1 dollar you call it Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Day?  Pretty cool that 2 of the first 4 champions were graduates from CGD.  Tanner Abbas is a helluva wrestler who has stepped it up a level this year.  It was just a matter of time with this kid.  He was at his “tipping point” for reaching this level since he was a Freshman in HS.  I believe he was a 3-4 time placer.  Abbas has stepped it up to the level that several people thought he would eventually reach.  I don’t see him slowing down.  Trey Heckadon from Graceland with a solid outing.  This kid has a cool style and is a gamer… I legitimatelyfeel like this kid could succeed in MMA after college…has that vibe about him when he’s competing. Good job to him.
  • 157: I don’t have much to say about this one other than congratulations to everyone who qualified.  Looking at those results breaks my heart. It’s the end of my 2nd youngest brother, Shea’s wrestling career. Congrats everyone, my heart is broken because my bro’s career ended at the Heart.

Isaiah Luellen, Baker

1st Place, Brennan Swafford, Graceland…not sure what’s up with the podium situation here.

Gio Bonilla, Grand View…a Florida wrestling legend.

  • 165: This bracket was deep.  Out of the 6 top ranked guys in the nation, 5 were in this bracket. Add in 2x returning National Qualifier, Drew Sams (Graceland) and yeah, this was set up to be a dog fight.  My baby bro, Sophomore, Brennan Swafford won it. He was fun as hell for the Mepo fans to watch in HS because he was dangerous and could put anyone away. His nicknames were “Burns” and “Mr. Dangerous” for over a decade. I’m glad he is still doing that in college. Out of his 24 wins, 15 were pins, 4 were tech falls and 2 were majors. Brennan does the majority of the graphic design for this site.  Pretty cool. Gio Bonilla from Grand View is a phenom from Florida.  If there is a wrestling hotbed that will emerge in time, it is for sure, Florida. Gio won 3 state titles in Florida, I believe. I think he placed at Fargo one year as well.  He won the coveted Mizzou Valley Invite this year…kid is a stud.  Drew Sams from Graceland has qualified twice for nationals already and placed 5th today…I hope they give him a spot. He deserves it. This weight was deep. The guy who got 6th, Elias Vaoifi from Mizzou Valley is a returning qualifier as well as a returning Mizzou Valley Invitational champ in 2019 and placed 2nd to Bonilla this year…and he placed 6th today…That Mizzou Valley Invite is like a miniature NAIA nationals, so that’s pretty crazy.  Kyle Caldwell had a good day and placed 3rd. He will be tough to beat at nationals. Another GV guy. Isaiah Luellen from Baker was a 2-3 time state champ in Kansas and has put together a great season in his first season at Baker.


  • Lucas Lovvorn from Baker is incredible. I am assuming this kid has been named OW at the Heart before or something? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter, Brennan was awarded his 2nd one today… It had to be difficult to award that over Lovvorn, though…he is the returning national champion and has two head to head wins against Brennan, to be fair.  Granted, Brennan was at 165 wrestling him at 174, but still.  Had to be tough to pick against a lot of these kids… Lovvorn, Evan Hanson, Browne/Portillo winner, Beason, etc. It looks like Jensen McDermott from Benedictine had one of his better days. I wrestled with his head coach, Marcus Cobbs, at Loras.  He is a great dude. William Seibert, as I guessed, has grown into 174 nicely. MoVal kid..
  • 184: I know nothing about this weight and can’t pretend that I do.

Evan Hanson, Grand View…a stone…cold…killa.

  • 197: Evan Hansen (Grand View) may go down as the best ever NAIA wrestler after he’s finished.  This guy would make noise at the D1 level.

Shawn Beeson, Graceland

  • 285: Shawn Beeson from Graceland came on strong last year and did well at the Heart and Nationals to become an AA.  He had some bumps earlier on in the season this year, but has obviously retained his footing, for he won his second Heart Conference Championship today! This guy is a reflection of how good of a job that the coaching staff at Graceland is doing with these guys.  Zach Mullins, Kris Fisher, Dylan Brazell…they do a great job creating a family atmosphere with their team. You can tell a lot about a kid and their preferences and their outlooks on the college lifestyles by the schools they decide to attend. Graceland is in a very small, nice community. While some kids think it’s essential to have a big city scene for college, there are some who prefer to be in a quiet, less busy atmosphere.  While a lot of kids’ may perceive an atmosphere like Graceland as having “nothing to do,” that’s not the case…Mullins and company do a great job of providing/creating a familial atmosphere, in which they make their own fun.  These guys are very tight-knit, like brothers.  Very cool to see.

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