The Edmond Sun

Sports

March 17, 2014

Central’s Rowell wins national title, Outstanding Wrestling Award

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Casy Rowell pulled out a gritty overtime victory against an old nemesis to capture the 133-pound national championship and earn Outstanding Wrestler honors in leading Central Oklahoma to a fifth-place finish in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships Saturday night in Cleveland, Ohio.

A two-time fifth-place national finisher, the fourth-ranked Rowell ended his career in style with a 3-2 overtime upset of defending champion and No. 1 Daniel DeShazer of Nebraska-Kearney to avenge a crushing loss in last year’s national tournament semifinals.

The No. 13-ranked Bronchos also got runner-up showings from 157 Cory Dauphin and 165 Chris Watson in finishing with 54.5 points. Top-rated Notre Dame (Ohio) crowned four champions and won the title with 99.5 points, followed by Nebraska-Kearney (64.5), Maryville (60.5), Ouachita Baptist (56) and UCO.

“That loss last year ate at me all summer and gave me nightmares,” Rowell said of the effects from falling to DeShazer in the 2013 national tourney. “It just feels incredible, especially after some of the ups and downs I had this year. But I never lost faith and this week I just believed it was meant to be for me to win — that it was my destiny.”

Rowell nearly scored a second-period takedown in his finals battle with DeShazer, but regulation ended in a 1-1 stalemate as the two traded escapes. It was 2-2 after each escaped during the first two tie-breaker periods before Rowell won it in the second.

The senior from Duncan escaped early in the third 30-second tie-breaker to go ahead 3-2 and then controlled DeShazer the final 30 seconds to wrap up the national championship.

Rowell ended the season 36-5 and finished his career with a 134-32 record, the fifth-most wins in UCO history.

“What a great, great win for Casy Rowell,” head coach David James said. “He bought in to our program from the beginning and he deserved this with all the hard work and dedication he’s shown. Tough losses for Cory and Chris, but they both had great years and just came up a little short tonight.”

Dauphin had a school-record 54-match winning streak snapped with a 5-2 finals loss to Notre Dame’s Jon Rivera.

The fifth-ranked Rivera took a 2-0 lead with a takedown midway through the first period, though Dauphin escaped later that period and early in the second to tie it 2-2. Rivera escaped early in the third period to go ahead 3-2 and added the clinching takedown with five seconds left when Dauphin tried a desperation throw.

A three-time All-American who won the national title last year, Dauphin ended his senior season 36-1 and finished with a 114-22 career record.

The second-ranked Watson rolled into the finals with three bonus-point wins, but fell to No. 1 Eric Burgey of Notre Dame 4-2 in the title match.

Burgey, the champion at 174 last year and ranked No. 1 again this season, took the lead on a takedown with 23 seconds left in the opening period before Watson escaped early in the second to make it 2-1. Burgey made it 4-1 with an escape and penalty point in the final stanza before Watson gained a late penalty point.

Watson finished his junior season 38-2 and he’s now 89-28 for his career.

 

NCAA DIVISION II CHAMPIONSHIPS

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

133 – Casy Rowell, UCO, dec. Daniel DeShazer, Nebraska-Kearney, 3-2 (TB2)

157 – Jon Rivera, Notre Dame, dec. Cory Dauphin, UCO, 5-2.

165 – Eric Burgey, NDC, dec. Chris Watson, 4-2.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINALS

133 – Rowell, UCO, dec. Brenden Murphy, McKendree, 3-1.

157 – Dauphin, UCO, dec. Zac Vargo, Lake Erie, 3-2.

165 – Watson, UCO, major dec. Brock Smith, Nebraska-Kearney, 9-1.

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