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Central Oklahoma’s Thrilling Semifinal Clinch

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (Jan. 5) – Anthony DesVigne’s upset win at 174 pounds ignited a closing stretch that catapulted Central Oklahoma past McKendree and into the semifinals of the NWCA Division II National Duals Friday at the UNI Dome.

The top-ranked Bronchos trailed 10-0 early and were down 13-7 with four matches left before rallying. DesVigne’s gritty 5-2 victory over No. 7 Matt Ortiz got the comeback started, Garrett Wells and Dalton Abney followed with five-point wins to put UCO on top and Shawn Streck’s technical fall demolition put an exclamation point on a 21-13 triumph over the No. 10 Bearcats.

Central, which breezed past No. 12 Upper Iowa 27-9 in the first round, is now 4-0 with an 11-match winning streak. The Bronchos collide with No. 6 St. Cloud State in Saturday’s 11 a.m. semifinals, then will take on either No. 3 Lander or No. 17 Augustana at 3 p.m. in the first- or third-place bout.

UCO and SCSU have met in the finals of this event the past two seasons, with the Bronchos winning in 2022 before the Huskies prevailed last year.

“We had two really good team wins today,” said head coach Todd Steidley, whose team has won 36 of its last 37 duals. “I was proud of the way we battled and I thought we wrestled hard. We had some guys who hadn’t wrestled much this year go out and do some good things for us.

“It was a tough day, but it’s going to be even tougher tomorrow. We’re going to have to be better, we know that, but I’m looking forward to seeing how our guys respond.”

McKendree put the Bronchos on the ropes early in the quarterfinals, opening with a major decision and then picking up two more wins to go ahead 10-0.

Bam West gave UCO a spark at 149 with a 12-3 major decision. The redshirt freshman, who made his varsity debut in the opener against UIU, used a big seven-point move midway through the second period to go up 7-1 before tacking on a third-period takedown and riding time point.

Fourth-ranked Gabe Johnson cruised 9-2 at 157 behind a pair of first-period takedown, but Hunter Jump lost his second straight overtime decision of the day to a ranked opponent in the next match. Jump fell 4-1 to No. 4 Cory Peterson, who got the winning takedown 27 seconds into the sudden-victory period.

That gave the Bearcats a 13-7 lead, but it was all UCO after that.

DesVigne, making his first appearance at 174 after competing at 184 the first semester, struck for an early takedown against Ortiz to go up 3-0 and that was a difference in a 5-2 victory….

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