Kearney, Neb. – The 12th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wrestling beat 18th-ranked Gannon (Pa.), 34-12, and fell to top-ranked St. Cloud State, 21-12, to finish third at the 2018NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals Friday in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
By going 3-1 this weekend, the Lopers (9-1) attain its highest finish in this annual tournament since winning in 2006-07. Over the last decade, UNK hasn’t always competed at the National Duals.
Against the Huskies (10-0), who went on to blast Seton Hill (Pa.) 41-0 in the first place match, the Lopers got out to a 6-0 lead.
Redshirt freshman Josh Portillo (Clarion, Ia.) received a penalty point in the first sudden victory period to upset second-ranked Brett Velasquez, 4-3, at 125 pounds. Portillo started the match with a quick takedown against the Bennington native and 2016 national champion. Velasquez then got dinged for stalling in the second period and in overtime. At 133 pounds, eight-ranked Bryce Shoemaker (Baldwin City, Kan.) racked up six points in the second period to win 7-5.
However, SCSU took the next five classes winning three by a combined five points. Sophomore Tevin Briscoe (Garden City, Kan.), after almost upsetting No. 1 ranked Darren Wynn of McKendree on Wednesday, fell 1-0 to No. 4 Jarred Oftedahl at 141 lbs. A point of riding time was the deciding factor. Top-ranked Keith Surber (Sparta, Ill.) then lost in sudden victory to fifth-ranked James Pleski, 3-1, a class higher.
At 157 pounds, redshirt freshman Matt Malcom (Glenwood, Ia.) was ahead of top-ranked Larry Bomstad, 6-0, entering the third period. But Bomstad scored 11 straight thanks to a takedown, 8-near fall points and riding time. Finally, 12th-ranked Zach Stodden (Broomfield, Colo.) 12-10 as seventh-ranked Kolton Eischnes had riding time and a 2-point near fall in the third.
On the plus side, sophomore heavyweight Jarrod Hinrichs (Geneva) continued his super season by upsetting 10th-ranked Lawrence Phillips, 4-3. In the easy win over the Gannon Knights (4-2), he pinned fifth-ranked Nick Budd at 6:02. Hinrichs was ahead 4-3 at the time of his eighth fall of the year. He is now 24-6 and leads UNK in wins and is tied for first in pins.
Also against Gannon, top-ranked Keith Surber (Sparta, Ill.) had a first period fall at 149 pounds and Stodden majored his opponent, 18-8. Gannon forfeited at 141 and 157 pounds.
Finally from Indiana, seven Lopers combined for 22 wins in Thursday’s Nuway College Open. Sophomore JD Rader (Jewell, Ia.) went 5-0 to place first at 133 pounds with junior Jeff Bizzle (Tahlequah, Okla.) also winning five times to be third a class higher.
Four Lopers will wrestle Saturday at the Cusatis Open at Hastings High School. The annual tourney is hosted by the Broncos.