Dec. 3, 2008

Courtesy of Nebraska-Omaha Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. - The Nebraska-Omaha wrestling team was named the favorite to win its fifth national championship in Division II wrestling, according to a preseason poll of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association.  The Mavericks earned 6 first-place votes to earn the top spot.

UNO earned 158 points in the poll.  Minnesota State-Mankato was chosen second with 149 points and two first-place votes, and Nebraska-Kearney was picked third with 144 points.  UNK won last year's national title by one-half point over Mankato.  UNO finished in third.  Chadron State was the third Nebraska school to earn a spot in the top ten of the preseason poll.  It was ranked ninth.

In addition, eight Maverick wrestlers were chosen in the top 8 nationally in their weight classes.  Senior Ross Taplin, a national runner-up last year, was the preseason pick as the top wrestler in the 174 lb. class.  Junior Cody Garcia, last year's national champion in the 125 lb. class for the second straight year, was chosen second in the 133 lb. class.

Head coach Mike Denney led the Mavericks to national titles in 1991 and to three straight titles from 2004 to 2006.  He is entering his 30th season as the Mavericks' head coach.

UNO begins the 2008-09 wrestling season on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Daktronics Open hosted by South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D.