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UCO clinches second straight national title

WICHITA, Kan. (March 16) – Back-to-back!

Dalton Abney moved into the 197-pound finals for the fourth straight year and was joined by a trio of teammates as top-ranked Central Oklahoma broke away from a tight team battle to wrap up its second consecutive NCAA Division II national championship Saturday afternoon.

Gabe Johnson (157), Anthony DesVigne (174) and Shawn Streck (Hvy) will also wrestle in tonight’s 7 p.m. finals at Hartman Area, while 165 Hunter Jump placed third, 149 Dylan Brown fourth and 184 Garrett Wells sixth.

UCO finished the marathon third session with 102 points in clinching the 17th title in the program’s illustrious history. No. 2 Lander is second headed to the finals with 82.5 points, followed by No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney (76.5), No. 5 McKendree (69) and No. 3 St. Cloud State (64).

“We’ve preached consistency in everything we do and it showed up this weekend,” head coach Todd Steidley said. “Every day we strive to get better and improve and I feel like we’ve done that.

“Our fans have been incredible, our guys have been incredible and our administration did an amazing job setting everything up. I’m really, really proud of our program and proud of our team and our community and our fans. It’s been an amazing weekend.”

And it’s not over yet.

“We’ve still got work ahead of us,” Steidley said. “We have four guys in the finals and we want to crown those guys and bring home some more hardware.”

Abney, who became UCO’s first-ever five-time All-American Friday, made the finals with a 6-3 triumph over unseeded Logan Kvien of McKendree. Abney lost a 1-0 finals decision in 2021 before claiming shutout wins the last two years over the same opponent he has tonight, Indianapolis’ Derek Blubaugh.

The top-seeded Abney took Kvien down a minute into their semifinal meeting and controlled him the rest of the period before going up 4-0 with an escape in the second stanza. Kvien went neutral in the final frame and got a takedown to make it 4-3, but Abney escaped and added a riding time point to move on.

Johnson continued an impressive tournament runin the semifinals with an 11-3 major decision of Lake Erie’s Jack Haskin. The third-seeded Johnson lost 8-1 to the second-seeded Haskin in December at the Midwest Classic, but the rematch wasn’t close.

Johnson struck for two takedowns in the first period, the last one with 19 seconds left, then added an escape and another takedown in the second period to go up 10-2. Haskin’s escape was the only scoring in the final two minutes, with Johnson adding a riding time point to finish off the rout.

Johnson will take on defending champion and No. 1 seed Nick Novak of St. Cloud State in tonight’s finals.

The sixth-seeded DesVigne survived a second straight tight match to make the title bout, clipping No. 7 Trey Sizemore of Indianapolis 10-6. The sixth-seeded DesVigne – who pulled out an overtime win in Friday’s quarterfinals – clinched the victory on a takedown with 23 seconds left.

DesVigne will meet No. 4 seed Josh Kenny of Grand Valley State in the finals.

Streck cruised past Pittsburgh-Johnstown’s second-seeded Isaiah Vance of 13-4 behind a four-takedown assault. The second-seeded Streck had two takedowns in the first period and one in each of the final two periods in posting the major decision.

Streck will take on top-seeded Juan Edmond-Holmes of Lander tonight in his bid for a second straight national title.

Brown lost a wild 10-8 semifinal decision to second-seeded Jacob Ealy of Pittsburgh-Johnstown when a near takedown on the edge of the mat with one second left was denied after video review.

The sixth-seeded junior had two more down-to-the-wire matches in the consolation bracket. Brown opened with an 8-7 victory over Wisconsin-Parkside’s Jalen Spuhler, then fell to St. Cloud State’s Colby Nojs 3-1 in the consolation finals on a late reverse.

Jump gave top-seeded Daniel Hunsberger of Lander a battle in their semifinal showdown, losing 10-8 when his last-second takedown attempts were thwarted.

The fifth-seeded Jump rebounded in emphatic fashion. He collected two takedowns, a near-fall and a reverse in romping past Maryville’s Cole Ritter 15-3 before coming out on top after a mad scramble to edge No. 3 Cory Peterson of McKendree 4-1 in sudden-victory for the bronze medal.

Wells opened his day with a hard-fought 8-6 win behind a pair of takedowns before losing his next two to come in fifth, including an overtime loss in the consolation semifinals.


149 – Colby Njos, St. Cloud State, dec. Dylan Brown, UCO, 3-1.

165 – Hunter Jump, UCO, dec. Cory Peterson, McKendree, 4-1 (SV).


184 – Damon Ashworth, Central Missouri, major dec. Garrett Wells, UCO, 11-3.


149 – Jacob Ealy, Pittsburgh-Johnstown, dec. Brown, UCO, 6-4.

157 – Gabe Johnson, UCO, major dec. Jack Haskin, Lake Erie, 11-3.

165 – Daniel Hunsberger, Lander, dec. Jump, UCO, 10-8.

174 – Anthony DesVigne, UCO, dec. Trey Sizemore, Indianapolis, 10-6.

197 – Dalton Abney, UCO, dec. Logan Kvien, McKendree, 6-3.

Hvy – Shawn Streck, UCO, major dec. Isaiah Vance, Pittsburgh-Johnstown, 13-4.


184 – Wells, UCO, dec. Anthony Yacovetti, Lander, 8-6.


149 – Brown, UCO, dec. Jalen Spuhler, Wisconsin-Parkside, 8-7.

165 – Jump, UCO, major dec. Cole Ritter, Maryville, 15-3.

184 – Reece Worachek, Wisconsin-Parkside, dec. Wells, UCO, 4-1 (SV).

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