Kearney. Neb. – The top-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wrestling finished in third place at the 2019 Division II National Duals Saturday in Louisville, Ky. The two-day, double elimination tournament was part of the NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association) Multi-Divisional National Duals. Seeded fourth in this tournament, UNK lost to top second-ranked and top-seeded St. Cloud State by a 22-15 score Saturday morning. The Huskies whipped Notre Dame (Ohio) College 35-6 in the finals to win this event for a third straight year and push its dual winning streak to 39 in a row.
In the afternoon, the Lopers bested fifth-ranked McKendree (IL), 23-17, to finish third for the second year in a row.
SCSU, which has won three of the last four national titles, took three matches by a single point to stave off UNK’s upset bid. Top-ranked Brett Velasquez used riding time to nip second-ranked Josh Portillo (Clarion, Ia.), 5-4, at 125 pounds with Garrett Aldrich having three takedowns and a reversal to get past fourth-ranked Jonathan Killingsworth (Lincoln S.E.) 8-7 two classes higher. Finally, St. Cloud moved ahead 9-3 after third-ranked James Pleski took down senior Nick Babcock (Broomfield, Colo.) with two seconds left to win 3-2 at 149 pounds.
Top-ranked Calvin Ochs (Hoxie, Kan.) used an escape and penalty point to narrowly get past fourth-ranked Devin Fitzpatrick, 2-1, at 165 pounds with top-ranked Matt Malcom (Glenwood, Ia.) having an 11-3 major at 157 pounds. Finally, fifth-ranked heavyweight Jarrod Hinrichs (Geneva) had a fall early in the second period to close out the scoring which featured each team docked a point for unsportsmanlike conduct.
UNK bounced back in the afternoon against McKendree by taking five of the first six matches. Babcock upset another ranked individual, this time No. 6 Isaiah Kemper, by having a takedown and two escapes to win 5-4. Next, Malcom had two takedowns and riding time to best ninth-ranked Nate Smalling, 5-2, while Ochs had a fall in 3:00. Finally, Hinrichs had a takedown with nine seconds remaining to win 3-1 and close out the long weekend. The Lopers head to Colorado School of Mines next Friday for a dual with the Orediggers.