Kearney, Neb. – The No. 2/11 Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team secured the 2019 MIAA Championship with a 29-12 victory over No. 10 Fort Hays State Sunday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center. This was the Lopers (12-4, 5-0) final regular season event of the 2018-19 season. All that remains is the NCAA Super Region Six Championships in two weeks and the NCAA Championships in early March. Kearney is hosting regionals each of the next two years. UNK won all six MIAA Tournament Championships before that event was discontinued by the league’s head coaches prior to this season. The Lopers previously won the dual title in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
To win a 12th straight dual vs. MIAA competition, UNK got falls from senior Calvin Ochs (165 lbs.) and sophomore Wesley Dawkins (133 lbs.). Ochs (Hoxie, Kan.) is now 10-0 with Dawkins improving to 22-8. Next, third-ranked Josh Portillo (Clarion, Ia.) managed another tech fall to win at 125 pounds, 21-3. His season total is up to 12 including seven against Division II competition. Finally, seniors Nick Babcock (149 lbs.) and Trey Schlender (197 lbs.) had the other bonus point wins. Babcock (Broomfield, Colo.) closed with a flurry of seven points to major his Tiger foe, 13-5, with Schlender (Kearney) having two 4-point near falls to win 15-0. The Super Region Six Championships will be held on Saturday, February 23rd, in the H & S Center. More information about the event will be released this week.