Omaha, Neb. — No. 1-ranked Nebraska-Omaha won its second dual of the weekend in emphatic fashion with a 29-6 victory against No. 11 Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday at Sapp Fieldhouse.
The Mavericks used four consecutive wins at 133, 141, 149 and 157 pounds to propel their way into a commanding lead, then got strong wins in the last four bouts to close out the win and improve to 7-1 in duals this year. UNK dropped to 11-3.
No. 4-ranked Josh Smith got the Lopers on the board first with a 13-7 win over Cody Tyler at 125 pounds to begin the dual. Smith never trailed in the bout and recorded two takedowns in the third period to build the lead.
Trent Cox began a string of four consecutive UNO wins with a 4-3 decision over UNK’s Stephen Weimer at 133 pounds to even the dual at 3-3. Cox scored a takedown in the second period to take the 4-3 lead and then held on after a scoreless final period to improve to 16-6 on the season and earn his second dual win in four tries.
Arguably the most exciting match of the night came at 141 pounds. No. 1 Mario Morgan and UNK’s No. 6 Dalton Jensen took a while to feel each other out. Morgan took a 2-0 lead late in the first period, but Jensen quickly earned a reversal to even the bout at 2-2. Morgan then escaped near the end of the first period to stake a 3-2 lead.
In the second frame, Jensen earned an escape to tie it up at 3-3. Morgan chose down to begin the third period, but Jensen rode him for about a minute and a half to eliminate all of Morgan’s riding time advantage. After a stalemate, Morgan started down again and earned an escape with three seconds left to win the bout 4-3. The win was Morgan’s 31st consecutive dual win, and the senior is now 19-4 on the year and a perfect 8-0 in duals.
Top-ranked Esai Dominguez won by forfeit at 149 pounds. UNK had the weight open because of injuries.
At 157 pounds, top-ranked George Ivanov earned a 4-1 decision against Islam Abitov to put the Mavericks up 15-3. Ivanov scored a takedown with just under 30 seconds left to break the deadlock, then finished out with a riding time point.
No. 5 Joey Wilson got UNK back in the win column with a 5-1 decision against Nathan Sigman at 165 pounds. Wilson, who is 27-8 on the season, pulled UNK within nine at 15-6 before the intermission.
After the break, No. 3 Ryan Pankoke earned a dominating 12-3 major decision against UNK’s Drew Comito. Pankoke improved to 30-2 by way of five takedowns and more than two-and-a-half minutes of riding time to give UNO a 19-6 lead.
At 197 pounds, No. 3 Aaron Denson assured the victory for the Mavs with a 6-1 decision against UNK’s Ross Brunkhardt. Denson improved to 23-5 on the year and 7-1 in duals.
No. 8 Matt Baker scored a major decision at 197 pounds with an 11-3 win against Mike Swanson. Baker accumulated 3:32 of riding time in improving to 21-7 this year and 6-2 in duals.
Capping off the night, No. 8 Taylor Escamilla scored a big upset against UNK’s fourth-ranked Ben Hohensee, winning 3-1 in sudden victory. The undersized Escamilla, who lost to Hohensee 3-2 earlier this season, scored a takedown with six seconds remaining in the first overtime period to capture the decision and improve to 26-11 on the year.