Dec. 10, 2009

By Amy Farnum

Nebraska-Omaha 133-pounder Cody Garcia notched four pins on his way to a 5-0 record and individual title at the Fort Hays Open last weekend, becoming the Mavericks all-time fall leader with 64.

Garcia, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler moved to 14-0 on the year with 11 of those victories coming by fall.  The native of Hutchinson, Kan., and three-time All-American came back strong after sitting out with an injury in the Mavericks last competition at the Kaufman-Brand Open.  

Ranked second nationally in his weight class, Garcia will look to remain unbeaten as the No. 1 Mavericks travel to the Loper Open at Nebraska-Kearney on Dec. 12.

HOME SWEET HOME: Second-ranked Newberry College was not a very gracious host at the Newberry Duals last weekend, posting a 3-0 mark against its opponents, including two wins over nationally-ranked teams.

Highlighting the Duals for Newberry was a dominating 42-7 victory over No. 3 Adams State, giving the Grizzlies their first loss of the season.  In a match-up between the top-ranked wrestlers at 184 pounds and 197 pounds, Newberry’s Keeno Griffin outlasted Kyle Sand, who moved up in weight class, in overtime for a 3-1 win in the 197-pound match.  Sand is the defending NCAA champion at 184 pounds, while Griffin captured the 197-pound national title in 2009.

Newberry now travels to Kent, Ohio, Dec. 13 for a pair of matches against Division I opponents No. 20 Kent State and Michigan.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: Nebraska-Kearney’s T.J. Hepburn garnered Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Wrestler of the Week honors after winning the 149-pound title at the Fort Hays State Open last weekend.

The junior from East Hampton, Conn., went 6-0 at the tournament with two pins and a technical fall en route to the championship.   In his biggest match of the day, Hepburn pinned fourth-ranked Will Forrest of Central Missouri in the semifinals in 4:52.  

No. 8 Nebraska-Kearney returns home to host the UNK Loper Open on Dec. 12, before taking on Division I’s Central Michigan and Nebraska in dual action on Dec. 19.

HUSKY HONORED: St. Cloud State’s John Sundgren picked up Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Wrestler of the Week honors after collecting a trio of pins as the Huskies went 3-0 at the UW-La Crosse Duals on Dec. 5.

The 157-pound junior, who is ranked eighth nationally in his weight class, improved to 7-2 on the year in the three victories against Division III opponents, which included a Huskies’ win over UW-La Crosse  -- the top-ranked squad in Division III.

St. Cloud State will host the Husky Open on Dec. 12 with several of the top teams and individuals across all divisions in Minnesota participating in the tournament.  Tad Merritt, the third-ranked wrestler in Division II at 165 pounds, is the defending champion in his class and was the 2008 Most Outstanding Wrestler.  He takes a perfect 10-0 record into the event.