Kearney, Neb. – The fourth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wresting team fell to fifth-ranked McKendree (Ill.), 24-15, and sixth-ranked Central Oklahoma, 18-13, to place fourth at the 2020 NWCA Multi-Division National Duals Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
The Lopers (5-4), trying to win this event for a third time, went 2-0 on Friday to reach the semifinals. This morning against the MU Panthers UNK got out to an 11-0 lead but McKendree won six of the last seven matches to reach the title match. There they faced top-ranked and three-time defending tourney champion St. Cloud State.
In the third place dual MIAA rival Central Oklahoma secured a win thanks to consecutive wins between 174 and 197 pounds. The ‘Chos were docked a team point but UNK couldn’t overcome those three straight victories and two OT setbacks.
Top-ranked Josh Portillo (Clarion, Ia.) started the day with a dominating 11-5 win over second-ranked Marcus Povlick. He had three takedowns, a reversal and a 2-point near fall to reach that point total. However, UCO’s sixth-ranked Tanner Cole rallied from a 4-2 first period deficit to win 8-6 in the first sudden victory period.
Lincoln juniors Wesley Dawkins (133 lbs.) and Jonathan Killingsworth (141 lbs.) won their matches against the ‘Chos by a combined 7-3 score with top-ranked Matt Malcom (Glenwood, Ia.) having a 10-1 major at 165 pounds. But UCO won all the other classes including a 3-1 overtime decision by second-ranked Heath Gray over grad transfer Anthony Mancini (Middletown, Del.) at 184 pound. Both wrestlers had an escape before Gray recorded a takedown in extra time.
The McKendree dual featured dominating wins by Dawkins and Killingsworth but second-ranked Nick Foster edged Malcom, 4-1, as did 10th-ranked Caleb Gossett against second-ranked heavyweight Jarrod Hinrichs (Geneva), 3-2. Foster used a reversal and 2-point near fall in the final 34 seconds to pull the slight upset with Gossett having a second period takedown and riding time to down Hinrichs.
UNK heads to Central Missouri next Thursday to start MIAA action.