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Wrestling finishes Top 10 at NCAA Championships


The Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team tallied 44.50 points to finish in eighth place at the 2018 NCAA Division II Championships Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The Lopers, seeing all five of its qualifiers place in the top eight to earn All-American honors, have now placed in the top eight of this meet the past 17 years.

As expected, top-ranked St. Cloud State won (92.50) with second-ranked Notre Dame College of Ohio the runner up (84.0) and third-ranked California Baptist third (70.50). SCSU has now placed first in this meet in three of the last four years.

For UNK, redshirt Matt Malcom (157 lbs.) was fourth, senior Bryce Shoemaker (133 lbs.) and redshirt freshman Josh Portillo (125 lbs.) both came in fifth with junior Zach Stodden (174 lbs.) and sophomore Jarrod Hinrichs (285 lbs.) both finishing eighth. Stodden is now a two-time All-American with the others earning their first such honor. Shoemaker previously was an NAIA All-American for Baker (Kan.) University.

Portillo (Clarion, Ia.) and Shoemaker (Baldwin City, Kan.) both went 2-0 on Friday to reach the semifinals. This morning, seventh-ranked

Maleek Williams of Upper Iowa scored five points in the final 13 seconds to rally past Portillo, 8-3. Williams went on to be the national runner up. A class higher, Shoemaker was down 2-0 when he was pinned by second-ranked Josh Walker of UIU at 4:37. Walker thrilled the home folks by winning the national title at this weight.

After falling 5-3 to Ivan McClay of Notre Dame, Portillo (13-7) rebounded to beat Lindenwood’s Carlos Jacquez, 9-5, in the fifth place match. The fifth-ranked Jacquez almost upset eventual national champion Eli Hale of Central Oklahoma in the semis, losing 4-3, and then was majored by St. Cloud’s Brett Velasquez, 12-2. Portillo registered three takedowns and added riding time to avenge an 8-6 loss to Jacquez during the regular season.

Shoemaker (21-5), in his first consolation match, was taken down early by seventh-ranked Darius Bunch of West Virginia’s West Liberty State and lost 3-2. He capped his collegiate career with a 3-2 win over top-ranked Airk Furseth of Wisconsin-Parkside. A takedown with 1:20 left was the difference in the fifth place match.

Malcolm (21-7) edged fourth-ranked Ryan Strope of McKendree (Ill.) with 26 seconds left to keep advancing on the backside. He then pinned eighth-ranked Jared Reis of Mary in 43 seconds before losing to second-ranked Fernie Silva of NDC, 12-7, in the third place bout. Silva had two takedowns and 4-near fall points in the third period.

Finishing the year 32-15, Stodden lost to fourth-ranked Zach Johnston of Minnesota State-Mankato, 12-5, in his placing match. Five third period points helped Johnston record the win. Earlier, fifth-ranked Nick Foster of McKendree used a first period takedown to edge Stodden, 3-2.

Finally, Hinrichs (40-10) lost to sixth-ranked Mitch Euell of Minot State (N.D.) and seventh-ranked Damon Sims Jr. of Pittsburgh-Johnstown today. Eull recorded a 3-0 win thanks to an escape, penalty point and riding time. Sims Jr. was up 9-5 when he was credited with a fall at the 7:00 mark.

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