Wrestling: Central Crossing alumni Teacher, Wimer capture NCAA Division II national titles
Five years after they were seniors in the Central Crossing wrestling program, Kameron Teacher and James Wimer have something else in common on the mat: They’re both NCAA Division II national champions.
Teacher, a senior at St. Cloud State, won the heavyweight championship and Wimer, a senior at Findlay, won at 157 pounds in the national tournament March 12 and 13 in St. Louis.
Teacher finally earned a national title after finishing as runner-up in 2017 and 2018 and third in 2019 at Notre Dame College in South Euclid. After last year’s NCAA Division II tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, he transferred to St. Cloud State.
His 6-5 decision over Colorado School of Mines’ Weston Hunt in the final also secured a third consecutive national team championship for St. Cloud State. The Huskies edged runner-up Nebraska-Kearney 107-105.5.
“I got it, finally,” said Teacher, who finished the pandemic-shortened season 13-0 and led the Huskies with 21 team points in the national tournament. “I wasn’t really nervous because I had a feeling (the team title) would come down to me. I just took deep breaths and believed I was going to win.”
At Central Crossing, Teacher won the Division I state championship at heavyweight as a senior, capping a 47-0 season. That came a year after he entered the state tournament unbeaten but went 1-2 to finish 50-2.
“I remember Kam in his junior year, he was undefeated going into state, and then he got wide-eyed and things didn’t go his way,” Central Crossing coach Jamie Ramirez said. “He used that experience and has been able to use wrestling as a tool to get things done. He was a cool cucumber (in winning the national title).
“It’s incredible. Both of these guys graduated the same year, and that was a great senior class. I knew both of them had more potential and would continue to improve. To see them on the same stage and winning it all, I’m so proud and happy for them.”
Wimer finished 14-0 after winning 7-3 in the final over Ronald Gentile of Lindenwood.
“I was really nervous and all of my teammates were making fun of me because I was so nervous,” said Wimer, whose team tied for 12th (23.5 points). “It was really surreal when I won it. It was almost like a relief. It’s always been a goal that I have had but never achieved.”
Teacher said he had almost as much fun watching Wimer win the title as winning his own.
“That was great, and we were cheering each other on throughout the tournament,” said Teacher, who is majoring in business management. “We were from different schools, but that didn’t matter. I wanted to see him win it because we were high school teammates representing our hometown and (Central Crossing).”
Wimer took a piece of Central Crossing culture onto the mat in the championship match.
“In high school, (Ramirez) would say, ‘Why not me’ or ‘Why not us?’ ” said Wimer, who earned a degree in occupational health and is working on a master’s in business administration. “I wore a T-shirt with ‘Why not me’ on it when I went out for the title. You have to believe in yourself and that’s definitely something I brought with me to college.”
Both are seniors but because the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 postseason, the NCAA granted wrestlers another year of eligibility. Wimer wants another chance at a title, but Teacher is ready for the next chapter in his life.
“I knew that would be my last match, and my goal was to win it,” Teacher said. “I had nothing to lose. I knew I had to do what I had to do.
“I have another year, but I have done everything I set out to do. I want to end things on a good note.”
Wimer finished sixth in the nation at 157 in 2019. His older brother, Josh Wimer, finished eighth in the nation at 149 for Findlay in 2009.
“I have one more year because I have a free year from COVID,” James Wimer said. “I want to cash that in next year. I want to try this again.”