Lineberger caps off career with second national title
Stone graduate leads Notre Dame College to NCAA team title
Back in 2014, the Notre Dame College (Ohio) wrestling team claimed its first-ever NCAA Division II championship in emphatic fashion in only its second year of full membership in the division.
That season, Garrett Lineberger became the Falcons’ second freshman in a row to win an individual title, after Joey Davis achieved the feat the previous year.
After a three-year hiatus atop the national podium, the 2013 Thomas Stone High School graduate and a Hughesville native who starred with back-to-back state titles his final two years of high school with a perfect 79-0 record, was among three national champions for Notre Dame en route to the team registering 103.5 points, 36 points ahead of St. Cloud State (Minn.), on March 11 in Birmingham, Ala.
It was a memorable moment for the Falcons senior, who repeated success from his first season in the college ranks.
“It’s unbelievable still to me,” said Lineberger, who was ranked No. 1 in the country in his weight class of 184 pounds. “I could not have ended my career any better with an individual and team NCAA title. I knew God had a plan for me and I thank him for every opportunity he has blessed me with good or bad. Being able to lead these guys this year was unbelievable. We have been through so many different trials and tribulations, so it was good to know that our sacrifices were worth it.”
After a close 6-4 win over Aero Amo with the help of two back points in the semifinals, Lineberger surged to a 15-0 win by technical fall over Nicholas Fiegener of California Baptist to capture the 184-pound national title.
He was able to put Fiegener on his back three times in the first period, including twice in the last 20 seconds, to go up 14-0 after the first three minutes.
“My sophomore year didn’t work out well. My junior year didn’t work out well, but I got it done this year,” Lineberger said. “I lost my grandfather [Joe] [last April]. He was my best friend and I know he’s watching right now.”
On what it was like to wrestle at the college level for four years, Lineberger said: College wrestling is very competitive throughout all the divisions. We mainly wrestled in Division I tournaments and competition through the year unless it was a Division II championship event. The level of competition increases ever year and I love it. It makes me push past my limits. I love the pressure, it makes you feel alive.”
With major support from his Notre Dame coaching staff and father Joseph, Lineberger credits the offseason workout regime that prepared his body for the grueling season.
“This season’s regime consisted of going back to my old ways with improvements in my diet, wrestling and mental game,” he said. “Taking it back to my roots in my basement in Southern Maryland where my dad and I would go at night to get extra work. You get what you earn, nobody deserves anything. Controlling my weight, not going out, late-night runs and weightlifting was key. Having complete faith in the Lord to guide me down the right path is important.”
Lineberger, who went 112-4 in the high school ranks, finished with a record of 107-15 for his collegiate career and also claimed three Super Regional championships as a Falcon.
“Lastly, I just want to thank my parents for all the sacrifices they made me over the years,” he said. “I can never ever repay them them for how they raised me and pushed me. I hope I made them proud in the end.”
Garrett Lineberger, a 2013 Thomas Stone High School graduate and now a senior at Notre Dame College (Ohio), capped off his senior career with his second NCAA Division II individual wrestling championship in the 184-weight class. He also led the Falcons to a team title on March 11 in Birmingham, Ala.
Garrett Lineberger, a 2013 Thomas Stone graduate, stands atop the podium after capping off his senior season at Notre Dame College (Ohio) with an NCAA Division II national wrestling title in the 184-pound weight class. Notre Dame went on to win the national team title.