Most of the Division II elite showed why they are considered “the elite” with one-sided dual wins last week. Entering late January, however, preseason No. 1 Maryville (Mo.) and 2013 NCAA champion Nebraska-Kearney are just trying to get healthy and have their best lineups ready for Sioux Falls, S.D., in March.
Maryville was without the services of All-Americans Nate Rodriguez (141), Keenan Hagerty (149), and Zeb Wahle (174) last Friday in Edmond and Central Oklahoma made them pay in a 24-15 Broncho victory. UCO’s Aaron Hane (133) and Josh Ailey (141) had back-to-back first-period pins and the hosts led 18-0 four bouts in and went on to win over the third-ranked Saints, who were fourth at the National Duals two weekends ago.
“We feel good about our team,” MU head coach Mike Denney said last week. “Notre Dame of Ohio got after us; we beat them last year so they were ready for us. During the 141-pound match Nate Rodriguez, 20-0 with 10-straight pins going in, hurt his knee. We’ve lost him for a while.
“We lost Keenan Hagerty for a while. Dimitri Willis was just coming back from an injury; Zeb Wahle, we’ve wrestled him sparingly. We’ve got some of our top guys nicked up right now, but we have some time. We just have to get everybody in the lineup, get everybody healed up.”
UNK moved to 12-2 with a pair of dual victories last week, including a battle on the road against unranked Ft. Hays State (Kan.) last Friday. The Lopers, ranked fifth in the latest Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Poll, edged FSHU, 23-15. A forfeit at 141 and a pin by Bradley Little at 149 pounds gave the hosts a 12-6 advantage; Jon Inman’s 9-4 decision at 184 pounds sent the dual to the final two bouts with UNK leading 16-15.
National champion Romero Cotton put the visitors up 20-15 with a major decision at 197 and Luke Peterson wrapped things up with an 11-4 victory. Two days later, back in Kearney, the Lopers made quick work of Central Missouri State. Daniel DeShazer (133) had a 10-second pin, senior 157-pounder Chase White needed just :25 and Cotton worked for :48 in a 37-10 whipping.
UNK’s Sunday result was more in tune with the rest of the DII elite.
Top-ranked Notre Dame College (Ohio) outscored Ashland and Lake Erie College, 69-11, in two dual wins. Against ninth-ranked Lake Erie on Sunday, Cobey Fehr (141) and Jonatan Rivera (157) each scored falls and Joey Davis (184) remained perfect for his career (118-0) with a 14-0 win.
Second-ranked St. Cloud State outscored Northern State (S.D.) and Minnesota-Moorhead, 88-7, to move to 10-1. For No. 4 Pittsburgh-Johnstown (11-1) it was 42-0 over Gannon (Pa.) and 36-8 against Seton Hill (Pa.). Sixth-ranked Wisconsin-Parkside (8-2) dominated DIII Wisconsin-Steven’s Point, 35-7, on Senior Night for the Rangers. No. 7 Mercyhurst (Pa.) hammered in-state foes Kutztown and East Stroudsburg by a combined 69-19 count.
“At the National Duals everyone was talking about how balanced DII is right now,” Denney said. “It is very competitive with a bunch of teams right there.”
In search of 11
Mercyhurst senior 174-pounder August Mizia had a technical fall and a major decision in the Lakers’ two wins last week. The Bentleyville, Pa., product is 11 victories shy of Andy Lamancusa’s school record 119. Mizia currently sits in third on the school chart, passing 2009 NCAA champion Josh Shields. A win Friday at Shippensburg would tie Mizia with Zack Shafer for second all-time.
St. Cloud State’s Clint Poster moved to 25-1 with two victories last week. The top-ranked 165-pounder from Pierz, Minn., is 65-1 since the start of his junior campaign and has 133 career victories, 11 shy of Tad Merritt’s school record.
• Coker College beat Limestone, 17-16, in a battle for South Carolina bragging rights last Wednesday. The Cobras got a come-from-behind decision by heavyweight Austin Atkins in the dual’s final bout. Seniors Charlie Huff (125) and Derrick Nelson (141) each have 20 victories this season for Coker (9-2) in just its third year in Division II.
• Chadron State (Neb.) beat No. 20 Colorado State-Pueblo, 16-15, last Wednesday. The two squads split five bouts with Taylor Summers’s major decision at 133 pounds the difference. A busy CSU squad wrestled its seventh dual since Jan. 14 on Friday, beating Adams State, 25-19. The two wins pushed the Eagles to 11-1 for the season, the best start for the program in 44 years.
• Wisconsin-Parkside 174-pounder Nick Becker remained perfect with a technical fall on Senior Night. The top-ranked Becker is 24-0.
• No. 14 Minnesota State-Mankato rolled three DIII opponents last week, outscoring St. Olaf, Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and St. John’s, 131-19. Augustana (S.D.) improved to 14-2 with routs of Southwest Minnesota State and Mary (N.D.). MSU-Mankato and AU square off in Mankato this Friday with eighth-ranked Upper Iowa (11-1) visiting Mankato on Saturday.
• No. 12 California Baptist had little trouble with fellow Californians San Francisco State, winning 35-3 in Riverside on Saturday.
• Findlay, ranked 14th with MSU-Mankato, won 6 of 10 bouts in a 23-12 victory at No. 18 Indianapolis last Friday.
• 10th-ranked Lindenwood (Mo.) dispatched Central Missouri last Wednesday. The Lions (6-2) host No. 19 McKendree (Ill.) this Tuesday and travel to Ft. Hays State for a Friday dual. A tasty matchup with Nebraska-Kearney awaits Feb. 6 along with a battle with Maryville on Feb. 10 in St. Louis.
• Colorado-Mesa (6-1) remained perfect against DII Colorado foes with victories over Western State and Colorado School of Mines last week. The 11th-ranked Mavericks face No. 20 CSU-Pueblo Feb. 11 in Grand Junction.