LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Jan. 7) – A potential overtime win that turned into a devastating loss by fall and an injury that severely handicapped a returning national champion was simply too much for Central Oklahoma to overcome in NWCA Division II National Duals finals Saturday afternoon.
The top-ranked Bronchos fell to No. 3 St. Cloud State 19-16 in a hotly-contested match that saw several dramatic momentum swings, with the biggest coming in the opening weight at 125 pounds.
UCO’s 10th-ranked Studd Morris was deadlocked 4-4 with No. 6 Paxton Creese late in the two-minute sudden victory period and appeared close to securing a winning takedown. But Creese hit a roll to come out on top and trapped Morris on his back, getting the fall at the 8:31 mark.
The Bronchos overcame that 6-0 deficit to get within 15-13 heading into the final two weights when misfortunate hit again.
This time top-ranked and defending national champion Dalton Abney suffered a severe ankle injury as he was close to an opening-period takedown. The hobbled Abney completed the match basically on one leg in losing a 9-0 major decision to No. 4 Dominic Murphy.
That gave St. Cloud a 19-13 lead, though UCO could have still tied the dual and won on criteria with a fall at heavyweight. Second-rated Shawn Streck did all he could in a 10-3 rout, but SCSU’s Elijah Novak managed to stay off his back.