Kearney, Neb. – The 12th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team placed nine in the finals and scored 110 points to easily win a sixth straight MIAA Championship title Sunday evening in Wichita, Kan. The Lopers, who also won the 2018 MIAA regular season title, easily were ahead of Fort Hays State (74.5) and 10th-ranked Central Oklahoma (64.5). Winning their respective weight class were senior Bryce Shoemaker (133 lbs.), junior Zach Stodden (174 lbs.) and redshirt freshman Matt Malcom (157 lbs.). Coming in second was senior Keith Surber (149 lbs.), junior Trey Schlender (197 lbs.), sophomores Tevin Briscoe (141 lbs.), Jarrod Hinrichs (285 lbs.) and Talon Seitz (165 lbs.) and redshirt freshmen Josh Portillo (125 lbs.). Shoemaker (Baldwin City, Kan.), ranked 11th nationally, majored his first opponent and then outscored his competition by a combined score of 10-3 in the semifinals and finals.
Stodden (Broomfield, Colo.), now 27-11 on the year, had two tech falls before edging Micqulle Robinson of Fort Hays State, 3-2, in the finals. A takedown with 41 seconds provided the winning margin. Finally, at 157 pounds, Malcom (Glenwood, Ia.) recorded a major and a 1-0 decision to win. He bested veteran Tyler Mies of Newman in the finals thanks to a second period escape. Next, UNK suffered overtime losses at 149 (Surber) and 165 (Seitz) pounds as well as 3-2 loss at 141 (Briscoe) pounds. At heavyweight, Hinrichs (Geneva) saw his 21-match win streak come to an end with a 7-2 loss to fourth-ranked Caleb Cotter of UCO. Hinrichs beat him, 5-4, during the regular season but 4-near fall points in the third period helped Cotter win this time. Kearney’s three non-scorers — seniors Kevin Barrett (285 lbs.) and Chace Bila (197 lbs.) and redshirt freshman Jonathan Killingsworth (141 lbs.) — each came in third place. UNK heads to the West Regional in Las Vegas, N.M., in two weeks.