Kearney, Neb. – The second-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team had nine placers in its annual Holiday Inn Open Saturday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.
This event is one of the largest college open tournaments in the nation, having 500 wrestlers compete on 16 mats. There were NCAA Division I and II schools in attendance as well as NAIA institutions and junior colleges.
In the “Elite” Division, Colorado senior Zach Stodden placed first at 174 pounds, Geneva junior Jarrod Hinrichs was the 285 champion as was Lincoln sophomore Jonathan Killingsworth at 141 pounds. Coming in second place was Iowa sophomores Matt Malcom (157 lbs.) and Josh Portillo (125 lbs.) with Lincoln sophomore Wesley Dawkins third at 133 pounds.
A couple of true freshman rounded out UNK’s placers in the tourney as true freshman Terrell Garraway (Lenexa, Kan.) was sixth at 165 pounds with true freshman Van Schmidt finishing the same at 125 pounds.
Stodden, ranked fifth in Division II, used two majors to get to the semifinals where he bested Colorado Mesa’s Seth Lathem, 8-5. Last weekend at CMU, Lathem handed Stodden a 3-1 setback. In the finals, Stodden edged Robert Gambrell of Colorado Mines, 6-5.
Following up a win at the Wyoming Cowboy Open, Hinrichs went 4-0 again with a fall and three decisions. His pin came in 2:49 and he beat Nebraska-Lincoln freshman Austin Emerson, 5-2, in the finals.
UNK wasn’t so lucky against the ‘Huskers at 125 and 157 pounds. Portillo fell to freshman Alex Thomsen by a 10-6 score after a three dominating wins. Several classes higher Malcom was beaten by freshman Peyton Robb, 10-4, in his first place bout. Two of Malcom’s three wins were by fall.
Killingsworth roared to the 141 pounds title thanks to two falls in the less than a minute. He got past Central Oklahoma’s Nate Keim, 7-4, to take home the gold. One class lower, Dawkins bounced back from a second round loss to reel off four straight wins. They included back-to-back finals.
Finally, in the Amateur Division, Garraway and Schmidt both went 5-1 to place sixth. Garraway had a 17-2 tech fall and a 1:16 fall with Schmidt having four consecutive pins.
UNK’s varsity heads to the Cliff Keen Invite in Las Vegas Nov. 30-Dec. 1 with the rest of the Lopers headed to Fort Hays State for the annual Bob Smith open.