Special to The Sun
A trio of Central Oklahoma greats who combined for eight national championships and 339 career wins have been selected for induction into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame, it was announced Tuesday.
Four-time national champion Cole Province along with two-time winners Mark Dodgen and Shawn Silvis will be honored during the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame Wrestling Banquet on Thursday, March 7 in Birmingham, Ala. The 2013 Division II Wrestling Championships will be held in Birmingham March 8-9.
That threesome will bring to 13 the number of UCO wrestlers in the Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Bronchos have won seven national championships since joining Division II in 1990.
Province came to UCO from Claremore High School and redshirted his first year before capturing four consecutive national titles while wrestling every match of his career at 133 pounds.
He went 34-10 with 17 bonus-point wins as a redshirt freshman in 2000-01, winning the first of four straight Midwest Regional titles before going on to take the national championship with a 7-4 finals victory to avenge an earlier loss.
Province had 12 bonus-point wins in finishing 34-11 record as a sophomore, winning 17 of his last 18 matches to take both the regional and national titles once again. He capped the national tournament with an 11-3 major decision in the finals as UCO stormed to a runaway win in the team race.
An elbow injury forced Province to miss the first two months of the 2002-03 season, but he dominated on his return to the mat in becoming the first-ever UCO wrestler to go undefeated (26-0) while leading the Bronchos to a repeat team title. Province was named the Midwest Regional Wrestler of the Year and earned Outstanding Wrestler honors at the national tournament after claiming his third crown with four easy wins.
Province ended his career in style as a senior in 2003-04, racking up 16 bonus-point wins and finishing 36-1. His lone loss was to the eventual Division I national champion and Province finished the season with 28 straight wins in becoming the school’s second four-time national champion and just the 14th in college wrestling history. He was named the Lone Star Conference Male Athlete of the Year despite UCO being the only school in the conference to sponsor wrestling.
Province won 74 of his last 75 matches — taking 46 straight at one point — and finished with a 130-22 career record that included 60 bonus-point wins. He ended with a 75-5 career mark against Division II opponents, winning the last 50 in a row.
Dodgen was a two-time state champion at Ponca City High School and spent one year at Iowa Central Community College, going 33-4 and winning a regional title in qualifying for the national tournament as a freshman there,
He transferred to UCO for the 1999-00 season and went 29-9 with 11 falls at 125 pounds en route to winning the national championship. Dodgen placed third in the Midwest Regional to qualify for the national tournament and took the national crown after entering as the No. 6 seed with a major decision and a trio of two-point wins.
Dodgen came back with a third-place national finish at 125 in 2000-01, winning 18 of his last 19 matches to end up with a 22-5 record that included 16 falls. He had three pins in winning the Midwest Regional to earn the No. 1 seed for the national tournament, losing a 4-3 decision in the first round at nationals before rebounding to win five straight in taking third.
Dodgen redshirted the following year before coming back in 2002-03 for a fantastic senior campaign, going 27-2 with six falls and winning a second national championship at 125. He won his last 25 matches and captured a second Midwest Regional crown before steamrolling four opponents in the national tournament, capping his career with a fall in the national finals to help UCO take the team title.
Dodgen finished with a 78-16 career record that included 43 bonus-point wins with 33 falls.
Silvis was a two-time state champion at Augusta (Kan.) High School and then started four straight years at 165 pounds for the Bronchos. He had a 27-16 record as a true freshman in 2000-01, finishing runner-up in the Midwest Regional to qualify for the NCAA Division II national tournament before going 1-2 there.
Silvis put together a dominating 31-2 campaign as a sophomore despite an early-season knee injury that knocked him out of the lineup for a month. He cruised to the Midwest Regional crown and followed with the national championship as UCO took the team title, rolling to three easy wins in making the national finals before pulling out a 3-2 win there.
Silvis claimed his second straight national title in 2002-03, finishing 32-6 with 10 bonus-point wins as the Bronchos won a tight race for the team championship. He won 15 of his last 16 matches, coasting to a second consecutive regional crown and then overcoming a 5-0 deficit in a 14-7 semifinal victory at the national tournament en route to taking the championship.
Silvis capped his career with a spectacular senior season, compiling a 41-4 record with a staggering 25 bonus-point wins. He finished third at the prestigious Las Vegas Invitational and won a third straight regional title, earning Midwest Regional Wrestler of the Year honors. Silvis routed his first three opponents at the national tournament before dropping a tough 8-6 finals decision to a three-time national champion who had moved up a weight.
Silvis ended his career with a 131-28 record that included 52 bonus-point wins. He went 104-12 his last three years.
UCO’s NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame Members
David James (2005)
Keith Cunningham (2005)
Howard Moore (2005)
Randy Zellner (2005)
Todd Drake (2007)
Mike Keim (2007)
Wes White (2007)
Mark Cunningham (2010)
Brian Melchiori (2010)
Jerry Best (2010)
Cole Province (2013)
Mark Dodgen (2013)
Shawn Silvis (2013)