UCO's latest national champions: Gabe Johnson (left) and Shawn Streck (right). Photo by Austin Bernard: https://www.photographsports.com/
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UCO claims two individual national titles

WICHITA, Kan. (March 16) – Gabe Johnson and Shawn Streck captured individual titles to put an exclamation point on Central Oklahoma’s second straight NCAA Division II national championship Saturday night at Hartman Arena.

Johnson knocked off the defending champion to claim the 157-pound crown, while Streck beat the No. 1 seed to win his second consecutive heavyweight title. 

Anthony DesVigne (174) and Dalton Abney (197) both lost their final bouts and the Bronchos had three other top-six placers in 165 Hunter Jump (third), 149 Dylan Brown (fourth) and 184 Garrett Wells (sixth).

Top-ranked UCO finished with 110 points in picking up the 17th championship in its rich history, No. 2 Lander was second with 86.5 points, followed by No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney (77.5), No. 5 McKendree (73) and No. 3 St. Cloud State (64).

“I couldn’t be happier for Gabe and Shawn,” head coach Todd Steidley said. “They both wrestled great all weekend and capped it off tonight. We lost a couple of tough ones, but Anthony and Dalton gave us everything they had. Those three seniors (Abney, DesVigne and Streck) have been incredible for us, not just this season but throughout their whole careers.”

Johnson capped an impressive four-match run to the title with a thrilling 9-7 victory over unbeaten Nick Novak of St. Cloud State that avenged a 4-1 loss to the No. 1 seed in January.

The third-seeded Johnson turned a single leg attack into a takedown two minutes into the opening period before giving up an escape, then tacked on a reverse 11 seconds into the second stanza.

Novak got loose, but Johnson struck for another takedown with 37 seconds left to make it 8-2 headed to the final period. Novak escaped early in the third and got within 8-7 on a penalty point and takedown with 43 seconds remaining, but Johnson escaped and held on for the upset.

“I look at every match I lost this year and I shut down,” said Johnson, who finished his sophomore campaign 26-4 with a 15-match winning streak. “I wanted to set the tone and stay on the offense and it paid off.”

Streck prevailed 7-4 in a tough battle with the top-seeded Juan Edmond-Holmes of Lander.

Streck gave up an early takedown – just the fourth he allowed in his three-year UCO career – before escaping and getting a takedown of his own. He added a penalty point for stalling near the end of the period for a 5-3 advantage, then escaped seconds into the second to make it 6-3.

Edmond-Holmes choose neutral in the final period, but never took a serious shot in the final two minutes. The third-seeded Streck gave up a penalty point in the final seconds, but offset that with riding time for the 7-4 victory.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling” Streck said. “I didn’t care about the individual title, it was all about the team. UCO is one of the toughest wrestling places there is. We’re tough as nails and proved it this weekend.”

Streck finished the season 19-1 and ended with a sensational 56-3 career record.

The sixth-seeded DesVigne battled No. 4 Josh Kenny of Grand Valley State to a scoreless draw in the first period, but Kenny was able to turn DesVigne in the second and score a fall at the 4:46 mark.

DesVigne, who never placed in the high school state tournament, finished with a 23-5 record and was a two-time All-American for the Bronchos.

The top-seeded Abney made his fourth straight appearance in the finals and fell 5-1 in a showdown with Indianapolis’ No. 2 Derek Blubaugh. 

Abney beat Blubaugh the last two years in claiming back-to-back titles after finishing runner-up as a sophomore in 2021. A third championship was not to be, with a first-period takedown paving the way for Blubaugh to finally get the upper hand.

Abney, who became UCO’s first-ever five-time All-American, had a 25-match winning streak ended in finishing the season 17-1. He ended his amazing career with a 89-7 record.


157 – Gabe Johnson, UCO, dec. Nick Novak, St. Cloud State, 9-7.

174 – Josh Kenny, Grand Valley State, pinned Anthony DesVigne, UCO, 4:46.

197 – Derek Blubaugh, Indianapolis, dec. Dalton Abney, UCO, 5-1.

Hvy – Shawn Streck, UCO, dec. Juan Edmond-Holmes, Lander, 7-4.

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