Nebraska-Kearney wins third MIAA title in a row, 12th since 2000
KEARNEY, Neb. -- Second-ranked Nebraska-Kearney got out to a fast start and scored 109.0 points to win the 2013 MIAA Championships Sunday in Hays, Kan.
This is the Lopers second consecutive MIAA tourney title and 12th since 2000.
UNK reached its winning point total -- the same total it had at this meet last year -- by having three champs, five runners up and two fourth place finishers.
Seventh-ranked Lindenwood (84.50 points) was a distinct second with 5th-ranked Central Oklahoma third (67.5) and 12th-ranked Fort Hays State fourth (53.0).
Kearney, which beat all six MIAA schools in duals this year, quickly answered the question of who would win the team title early on as eight Lopers reached the semifinals.
Many of these wins in the morning came in dominant fashion, boosting the Loper team point total. Overall, UNK finished with seven falls, two tech falls and two majors.
Winning their respective weight classes as top seeds were seniors Patrick Martinez (174 lbs.) and Brock Smith (165 lbs.) and sophomore Romero Cotton (197 lbs.).
Coming in second was senior Brock Coutu (141 lbs.), sophomores Connor Bolling (125 lbs.), Daniel DeShazer (133 lbs.) and Chase White (157 lbs.) and redshirt freshman Destin McCauley (149). Of this group, only DeShazer was the top seed.
Finally, coming in fourth were seniors Kelsey Empting (285 lbs.) and Mark Fiala (184 lbs.).
Ranked fourth nationally, Martinez roared into the 174 lbs. finals thanks to a 13-5 major decision and a 19-1 tech fall. To improve to 16-1 and win this class for a second straight year, he used a second period escape and a stalling point in the third period to slip past second seed Josh Rodriguez of Hays, 2-1.
Cotton, the nation's top-ranked 197 pounder all year, had to wrestle only once to place first. After an opening round bye, he beat Garrett Henshaw of UCO, 6-2, and then seventh-ranked Tanner Kriss of Hays injury defaulted in the title match.
To win the 165 lbs. title, Smith edged Lindenwood's Luke Ruth and UCO's Chris Watson by a single point. Ranked sixth, Smith upset the No. 1 ranked Watson (31-2) for the second time this season thanks to two first period takedowns. He added another in the second to win 6-5.
At 125 lbs., the second-seeded Bolling got a matter of revenge in the semis, beating UCM's Malacai Collins, 9-2. Last weekend in Kearney, Collins defeat Bolling by a 9-3 score.
Bolling (31-13) was hoping for some more revenge in the finals against top-seed Marcus Tamayo of Lindenwood. Tamayo beat Bolling, 6-4, in St. Charles during the regular season. This time, Tamayo won 10-4 as he had three takedowns and some riding time.
Since becoming a Loper, DeShazer has lost only two matches to Division II competition, both to UCO's Casy Rowell.
The second loss came in the 133 lbs. finals as Rowell, ranked seventh, posted a 6-5 win over the top-ranked DeShazer. Rowell, who was pinned by DeShazer in last year's NCAA semifinals, recorded a takedown with about 15 seconds left to pull the upset.
At 141 lbs., Coutu fell to fourth-ranked C.J. Napier of Hays. Napier blew a 3-0 lead but used a late reversal to win 7-4.
White lost to No. 1 ranked Cory Dauphin of UCO, 8-2, in the 157 lbs. finals. The 2014 MIAA W.O.Y., Dauphin (29-0) used some near fall points to take a 4-1 lead early in the second period.
Having wrestled only a handful of matches this year, McCauley still pulled off an upset when he majored third-ranked Jordan Basks of UCO 15-6 in the 149 lbs. semis.
Top-ranked Frank Cagnina of UCM, and formerly of D1 Lehigh, is now 31-2 after a first period fall of McCauley in the finals.
Fiala went 2-2 at 184 lbs., losing to 3rd-ranked John McCarle of Lindenwood, 15-8, and UCO veteran Znick Ferrell, 10-3. Finally, Empting went 2-2 as well, losing to two wrestlers – Jack Page of Hays and Cory Dauphin of UCO – who've both been ranked nationally this winter.
UNK's dual this Wednesday at Chadron State has been cancelled so the Lopers are off until Regionals Feb. 28-March 1 at UCO.