Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney head wrestling coach Dalton Jensen announced today the names of three high school seniors who will join the Lopers next season.
They are Tyler Cunningham and Van Schmidt from Gretna and Scott Fulsos of York. UNK has four seniors on this year’s team, each an All-American or NCAA qualifier. The next signing period for Division II wrestling comes in April 2018.
Cunningham (133/141 pounds) enters is senior season with the Dragons sporting a 120-11 career record. He spent his first two years at St. Paul High School, winning the 2016 Class C state title at 106 pounds. As a freshman, he finished fourth at the same weight.
“I have known Tyler and his family for many years now and I’m excited to now have them as a part of the Loper Family. The support Tyler has from home will no doubt lead him to success in college and afterwards,” said Loper head coach Dalton Jensen.
Last winter, Cunningham was fifth in Class B at 126 pounds. Out of the high school season, he was seventh at the UWW Cadet Nationals in Akron and earned All-American honors with an eighth place effort at UWW Junior Nationals in Las Vegas. Finally, Cunningham is a three-time Fargo Junior All-American, finishing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
“We preach to our team a lot about adding value to the program in all facets of your life: Academic, Athletic, and Social. As far as Tyler goes, he will add a tremendous amount of value to the Loper Wrestling program and I know we can make a positive impact on his life as well. He is as coachable as they come.”
Schmidt (125 pounds) will enter the 2017-18 season with a 131-19 record and 91 falls. A three-time Class B state qualifier, he went 54-0 last season (42 falls) and won the state title at 113 pounds. He and Cunningham helped Gretna place second in the team race, the Dragons highest finish in 16 years.
“Van is a mat rat that wrestles year around and can’t get enough of the sport. His eagerness to learn along with his tenacity and work ethic will make his transition to the college level a smooth one,” said Jensen.
For Omaha Skutt Catholic, he was a state runner up as a freshman (106 lbs.) and a third place finisher (113 lbs.) as a sophomore. Schmidt also is a two-time Nebraska Freestyle champ.
“He has big goals for himself and I know he is capable of achieving them here at UNK. His competitiveness will create some great battles in our room at the lighter weights and help our team continue to get better.”
Down the interstate in York, Fulsos (141/149 pounds) was the 2017 Class B state runner up at 138 pounds. Currently 147-20, he was fifth at the same meet in 2016 (132 lbs.) and has wrestled in several tournaments outside the high school season. That includes being fifth at the 2017 USA Pre-Season Nationals and 2016 Blue Chip Nationals and fourth at the 2016 Monster Match Nationals in Denver.
“Scott has just recently started to see much of his success due to how much time and effort he has put into the sport in the off season. He did not start wrestling until seventh grade and has made huge gains over such a short period,” said Jensen. “His potential is vast and I’m excited for the opportunity to work with him and help him reach his goals on and off the mat.”
The 20th-ranked Lopers (2-0) host its annual UNK Holiday Inn Open this Saturday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds. It has become one of the largest college tournaments in the country.