Special to The Sun
Cory Dauphin and Chris Watson captured individual titles to lead Central Oklahoma to a sixth-place finish in the rugged NCAA Division II Central Super Regional Saturday afternoon at Hamilton Field House.
The No. 6-ranked Bronchos finished with 83 points in the 17-team tournament that featured seven top-20 teams, including five of the top eight.
Two-time defending national champion and No. 2-rated Nebraska-Kearney won the team title with 106.5 points, seven ahead of No. 8 Lindenwood. No. 3 St. Cloud State came in third with 99 points, followed by No. 15 Fort Hays State (89), UCO and No. 6 Upper Iowa (70.5).
The Bronchos qualified five for the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships on March 14-15 in Cleveland, Ohio, after going a perfect 5-for-5 in the placement matches.
Dauphin won his 51st consecutive match in taking the 157-pound crown and Watson claimed the title at 165, with UCO also getting a third-place finish from 133 Casy Rowell and fifth-place efforts from 149 Jordan Basks and 184 Znick Ferrell.
“Hats off to our five qualifiers, they fought hard today and were rewarded for it,” head coach David James said. “Those guys all won some tough, physical matches and showed a lot of heart.
“Obviously it wasn’t what we were looking for from the team aspect, but I like the five guys who are moving on. Getting to the national tournament is the toughest part and I’m excited about what we can do with these five.”
The top-ranked Dauphin won two matches Saturday to claim his second straight regional championship, winning 6-2 in the semifinals before clipping St. Cloud State’s Clint Poster 10-7 in the title bout.
Dauphin had three takedowns and a reverse in the finals as he improved to 33-0 on the season.
Watson avenged his only two losses of the season in the semifinals with a 7-4 win over UNK’s No. 1-rated Brock Smith, overcoming a 4-3 deficit with four third-period points.
The second-ranked Watson used an early four-point move to take control quickly in an 8-3 finals triumph over Southwest Minnesota’s Kyle Begin and improve to 39-2.
Rowell won three matches on the day to complete a comeback from an upset loss in the quarterfinals.
The sixth-ranked senior started his day with a 7-4 win, rolled over top-rated Andy Pokorny of SCSU 8-1 in the consolation semifinals to avenge a mid-season loss and had two near-falls in an 8-1 rout of Southwest Minnesota’s Justin Reinsma in taking the bronze medal.
Basks got off to a rough start Saturday, dropping a tough 7-5 overtime decision in the semifinals to Central Missouri’s Frank Cagnina and then losing 6-3 to SCSU’s Jay Hildreth.
Then, trailing 7-2 late in the second period of the fifth-place match, Basks bear-hugged UNK’s Destin McCauley to his back for a stunning fall with just five seconds remaining to earn a national tournament berth.
Ferrell pulled out two last-second thrillers in punching his ticket to nationals, starting in the consolation quarterfinals when he scored a reverse with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime against SCSU’s Dylon Braun before winning 6-5 in the tie-breaker.
Ferrell dropped a 3-0 decision in the semifinals, but edged Augustana’s Sean Derry 4-3 in the decisive fifth-place match on a reverse with three seconds remaining in the second tie-breaker.
NCAA DIVISION II CENTRAL SUPER REGIONAL
157 – Cory Dauphin, UCO, dec. Clint Poster, St. Cloud State, 10-7.
165 – Chris Watson, UCO, dec. Kyle Begin, Southwest Minnesota, 8-3.
133 – Casy Rowell, UCO, dec. Justin Reinsma, SMSU, 8-1.
149 – Jordan Basks, UCO, pinned Destin McCauley, Nebraska-Kearney, 4:55.
184 – Znick Ferrell, UCO, dec. Sean Derry, Augustana, 4-3 (TB2).
149 – Frank Cagnina, Central Missouri, dec. Basks, UCO, 7-5 (SV).
157 – Dauphin, UCO, dec. Bobby Williams, Ouachita Baptist, 6-2.
165 – Watson, UCO, dec. Brock Smith, UNK, 7-4.
125 – Tanner Johnshoy, SCSU, major dec. Josh Breece, UCO, 13-4.
133 – Rowell, UCO, dec. Joshua Douglas, Minot State, 7-4.
141 – Jordan Roths, Upper Iowa, dec. Dustin Reed, UCO, 4-1.
174 – Tiger Paasch, Minot State, dec. Colton Gallo, UCO, 13-7.
Hvy – Cole Wilson, SMSU, pinned Cody Dauphin, UCO, 6:52.
133 – Rowell, UCO, dec. Andy Pokorny, SCSU, 8-1.
149 – Jay Hildreth, SCSU, dec. Basks, UCO, 6-3.
184 – John McArdle, Lindenwood, dec. Ferrell, UCO, 3-0.