Stephens, a sophomore at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky, gave up a takedown and a near-fall in the closing seconds and lost to Brock Gutches of Southern Oregon, 6-4, in the 174-pound finals of the NAIA National Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday.
Stephens cruised in his first four matches of the tournament. He won his opening bout by pinfall in 4:29 and claimed an 11-6 victory in his second-round bout. On Friday, he won in the quarterfinals with a pin in just 1:18 and claimed an 8-3 win in the semifinals.
Lindsey Wilson finished with one champion and three finalists to place fourth in the team standings. The Blue Raiders’ previous best team finish was a 15th place showing last season and no LWC wrestler had ever placed higher than eighth before this season.
Stephens came to Lindsey Wilson after winning the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) 184-pound championship with Tennessee Temple University in the 2010-2011 season.