UNO wins super region, qualifies 10
Mav’s Dominguez earns regional wrestler-of-the-year award
FINDLAY, Ohio -- No. 1 Nebraska-Omaha earned its third consecutive NCAA Super Region Two title on Saturday at the Koehler Fitness and Rec Center on the campus of Findlay University. All 10 Maverick wrestlers finished in the top four of their respective weight classes to advance to the NCAA Championships, set for March 11-12 in Kearney, Neb.
UNO finished with 156.5 team points to beat Ashland (126.0) and Central Oklahoma (106.0). Five UNO wrestlers earned regional titles, as the two-time defending national champions will send all 10 of their wrestlers to nationals for the second consecutive year.
Senior Mario Morgan qualified for his fourth career NCAA Championships with a dominating first-place performance at 141 pounds. It marked the third regional title for the top-ranked Morgan, who defeated Ashland's Kyle Kanaga 9-5 in the final.
Junior Esai Dominguez then left no doubt as to who the best wrestler in the 149-pound bracket was with three consecutive dominating wins to capture his first career regional title. The top-ranked Dominguez earned a 24-8 technical fall win in the final against Ashland's Daniel Genetin. Dominguez was named the Super Region 2 Wrestler of the Year for his performance.
Sophomore George Ivanov will make his second consecutive trip to nationals after winning his first career regional. The No. 1 Ivanov defeated Central Oklahoma's Cory Dauphin 3-2 to cap a 4-0 weekend.
At 174 pounds, third-ranked senior Ryan Pankoke earned his second trip to the national tournament with a 2-0 decision against Bryce Sopko of Limestone in the final. Pankoke will take a 30-match win streak into the NCAA Championships.
Senior Aaron Denson will make his fourth trip to nationals after a 4-0 first-place weekend. The No. 3 Denson beat Tanner Keck (Central Oklahoma) 2-1 in the 184-pound final.
Morgan, Dominguez and Ivanov all finished second at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Pankoke finished third and Denson did not place, but finished second in 2009.
Fourth-ranked Matt Baker wrapped up his first career national tournament appearance with a second-place finish at 197 pounds. Baker went 2-1 on the weekend and lost to Charles Morgan of King College 3-2 after giving up a late takedown.
The Mavs' four unranked wrestlers all turned in stellar performances to shore up their first career spots in the national tournament field in two weeks. Josh Keszler went 4-1 and finished third at 125 pounds; Trent Cox also went 4-1 to finish third at 133 pounds; Nathan Sigman went 2-2 to place fourth at 165 pounds and Taylor Escamilla finished third at 285 pounds with a 4-1 record.