Kearney, Neb. – The 12th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team will face sixth-ranked Pittsburgh-Johnstown in the first round of the 2018 NWCA Multi-Divisional National Duals Thursday in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
The two-day, double elimination tournament will be held at War Memorial Coliseum and also features the Nuway College Open. The National Duals are Thursday and Friday this year with the open tourney on Thursday as well. UNK has added the Nuway to its schedule and is brining additional individuals to compete in that event. Live results are available for both via www.trackwrestling.com.
UNK (6-0) and the Mountain Cats (5-1) met two years ago in Ft. Wayne with UPJ claiming a 37-7 victory. The winner and loser of the Loper/Mountain Cat dual, set for 8 a.m. Central, will face 13th-ranked Central Oklahoma and fifth-ranked McKendree (Ill.) in the quarterfinals or consolation round at noon Central.
In the most recent national rankings, released December 28th, UNK has four individuals in the nation’s top 12. They are seniors Kevin Barrett (7th/285 lbs.), Bryce Shoemaker (8th/133 lbs.) and Keith Surber (1st/149 lbs.) and junior Zach Stodden (12th/174 lbs.). UPJ features Cody Law (2nd/157 lbs.), Tyler Reinhart (2nd/174 lbs.), Chris Eddins (5th/141 lbs.) and Levi Niebauer (6th/197 lbs.).
Finally, the Lopers have added two transfers to its roster and both will compete in the duals this weekend. They are junior Jace LaCaille (197 lbs.) and redshirt freshman Josh Portillo (125 lbs.). LaCaille hails from Georgetown, Texas, where he played football at Division III power Mary Hardin-Baylor while Portillo (Clarion, Ia.) spent last year at Division I South Dakota State.
This Saturday, a few Lopers will take part in the annual Cusatis Open at Hastings High.