Nov. 24, 2008

Courtesy of Nebraska-Kearney

Kearney, Neb.  -- The 3rd-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team had two runners up in the Amateur Division of the 2008 Kaufman-Brand Open Saturday in Omaha.

The largest single one day collegiate tournament in the country, the non-team scoring event drew some of the best wrestlers in the nation.

Due to some injuries, UNK had didn't compete in five of the 10 weight classes in the Elite Division. At this lever, the Lopers posted an overall 12-10 record with six falls.

Senior Keenan McCurdy had the best performance here, posting a 4-2 record at 157 lbs. with two falls. The Lincoln East graduate bounced back from a second round defeat to win three straight consolation matches.  His day would end with an 11-5 loss to Minnesota's Tyler Safratowich, who would go on to place fifth.

The other four Loper wrestlers in the Elite Division each went 2-2.

In the Amateur Division, senior Nate Reicks (285 lbs.) and sophomore Justin McKain (197 lbs.) each placed second. Additionally, true freshman Brandon Rimpley (133 lbs.) won four times at 133 lbs.

At 197 lbs., McKain (Sutherland) reached the semifinals thanks to a forfeit victory and decisions over Derek Thompson (Labette CC, Kan.) and Richard Kokesh (Iowa Lakes CC).  He moved into the finals with a 4-2 win over Phil Hawes (Iowa Central) and then was edged by Iowa's Brody Ambrose in sudden victory, 3-1.

Already this year, McKain has placed first at the Colby CC (Kan.) Open and finished third at the Wyoming Cowboy Open.

At the next weight class, Reicks shook off five years of rust to win four times. The McCook native, and four-year member of the Loper football team, last wrestled at the 2003 UNK Loper Open.

His collegiate wrestling career was put on hold after a Tour of Duty overseas and a stellar gridiron career. As a redshirt freshman in 2003-04, he posted a 7-4 mark.

Reicks, the 2003 Nebraska Class B state champ at 189 lbs., pinned Nate Brown of Neosho CC (Kan.) at 1:08 to start his day, then nipped Beau Tudor of North Iowa CC, 1-0, in the second round.

He picked up another close win in the next round, 2-1, before pinning Cody Sliger of Division I Tennessee-Chattanooga at 5:36 in the semifinals.  In the finals, Reicks was pinned by Atticus Disney of Minnesota.

Rimpley's four victories included two by fall and one by major decision. The Kearney High graduate lost to the eventually fifth place finisher, Tim Thurston of Iowa Lakes, and to the fourth place finisher, Nebraska's Mike Ashton.

Also in the Amateur Division, Arizona native Mike Abril (125 lbs.) and Texas freshman Josh Smith (133 lbs.) reached the quarterfinals with Kenesaw freshman Matt Duffy winning three times at 165 lbs.

UNK is off next weekend before travelling to the Bob Smith/Fort Hays State Open Dec. 6th. Pictured below are McCurdy-Reicks-McKain.