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Wrestling claims super regional title

Isaac Deaton looks to takedown Colorado Mesa’s Nolan Krone. Deaton beat Krone by decision 6-5.

Lopers qualify six for nationals


The Lopers didn’t disappoint in front of their home crowd, racking up 121.50 points throughout the day. UNK had a placer at every weight class except one and qualified six wrestlers for the national tournament.

“We won the regional tournament as a team and that’s a great thing,” Dalton Jensen said, UNK wrestling coach. “We do not take that for granted.  I’m very pleased with our six NCAA qualifiers and excited to see them compete at the national tournament. The guys we are taking are all capable of doing some special things at nationals.”

To get more wrestlers to the national tournament, the NCAA opened 20 extra bids for the Super Regionals. They did this by creating six Super Regionals rather than the four seen in the past. Because of this, the top three finishers in each weight class qualified instead of the top four.

At 125 pounds, UNK had the No. 1 wrestler in the Super Regional coming in, Josh Portillo. In his first match of the day, he made quick work of Dominic Rivera of New Mexico Highlands, beating him by tech fall 17-1.

In the semifinals and finals, Portillo drew Josiah Seaton from Colorado State-Pueblo and Jonathan Andreatta of Adam State.  In both matches, the sophomore from Clarion, Iowa, jumped in front early and rode his opponents out. 

He won by decision 6-3 over Seaton and beat Andreatta 7-5.

Matt Malcom was the other champion for the Lopers at 157. He dominated in the first two rounds, tech falling both his opponents. 

In the championship, Malcom wrestled Skylar Lykins of Colorado School of Mines and won by major decision 13-4.

“Matt has had a great season up to this point, Jensen said. “His ability to light up the score board on a consistent basis is what makes him such a special wrestler.  Throughout the seven-minute matches he works at a high pace and is constantly looking to score points.”

UNK had three wrestlers take second place on the podium.

Redshirt sophomore Wesley Dawkins at 133 pinned his first opponent Bracken Lovell of Colorado Mesa in 1:43. 

In the semifinals, he got an upset over No.4 ranked Darek Huff of Adams State. Dawkins rode him from the top position in every period, to earn an 8-0 decision.

The championship had Dawkins paired up against No. 2 in the nation D’andre Brumfield of Colorado State-Pueblo. Brumfield controlled the match from the top in the first period and then pinned Dawkins in the second at 3:10.

At 165, Calvin Ochs wrestled smart and only gave up a combined two points in his first two matches. 

In the semifinals against Zane Zeman of Colorado State-Pueblo, the match was neck and neck up to the third period. It was then that Ochs was finally able to get Zeman on his back and get near fall points to win 7-1. 

In the title bout, it was strength vs. strength. Neither Ochs or Koery Windham of Adam State were willing to give up anything. 

Both did a good job of countering the other’s move, and as a result, regulation ended with a stalemate at 1-1.

The turning point in the match was when Windham broke through and finally got Ochs on the mat. As a result, he was able to pick up the 5-4 decision in the fourth overtime.

Zach Stodden, a senior for the Lopers, took advantage of a wide open 174-pound weight class. In the first-round matchup, he got a 5-1 decision over Seth Lathman of Colorado Mesa.

Then in the semifinal, he pulled off the late 8-6 victory over Robert Gambrell of Colorado School of Mines. This punched his ticket into the national tournament.

In the championship, Stodden met No. 1 and undefeated Brandon Supernaw of Western Colorado. He gave him his toughest match of the day, but in the end it wasn’t enough, as he fell 7-2.

“Zach Stodden is a proven post season wrestler, Jensen said.  “He performs at his best when there is the most at stake.  That is why he is a two time All-American and going for his third.”

UNK’s final qualifier of the day was Jarrod Hinrichs at 285 pounds. Hinrichs found himself wrestling through the back half of the bracket after suffering an upset to Sammy Deseriere of Western Colorado in his first match of the day. 

He won three straight matches, to get to the third and fourth place bout. There he met up with James Romero of Adams State.

He controlled from start to finish in a 17-5 major decision victory.

“Jarrod’s performance after getting upset in the quarterfinals shows a lot about his character, said Jensen. To come back and win 4 straight matches after getting upset shows a lot of heart.  I was very proud to see how he bounced back after that loss.”

Jon Killingsworth at 141 and Isaac Deaton at 184 both got to the third and fourth place match but ended up losing. 

At 197, Trey Schlender was 3-2 on the day. He advanced to the semifinals with two victories but then lost twice to Wade French of Chadron State and Dylan McBride of Western Colorado. 

In the fifth-sixth place match, Schlender ended the day by pinning Jacob Feldman of Colorado Mesa.

“We are leaving four of our starters at home as they did not qualify,” Jensen said. “It’s tough watching these guys put in so much work and not get to be with us at the national tournament.”

UNK will be back in action March 8-9 as the Lopers go for a team title at the NCAA championships at Notre Dame College in Cleveland, Ohio.

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