Special to The Sun
ASHLAND, Ohio —
Central Oklahoma crowned four champions and had nine top-four placers, but still had to settle for a runner-up finish in the NCAA Division II Super Regional Two Tournament here Sunday.
The No. 3-ranked Bronchos got title-winning efforts from 133 Casy Rowell, 149 Jordan Basks, 157 Cory Dauphin and 174 Kelly Henderson, while 165 Chris Watson, 197 Znick Ferrell and heavyweight Cody Dauphin all took third and 141 Trison Graham and 184 Tanner Keck both place fourth.
UCO finished with 140 points in the tightly-contested tournament, two points behind No. 2 Notre Dame. The Bronchos took a 140-138 lead in the team race after dramatic falls by Henderson and Keck, but the Falcons won titles at 197 and heavyweight to claim the title.
Notre Dame also qualified nine individuals for the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, which will be held March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala. Host Ashland was third in the 12-team tournament with 91 points, followed by Lake Erie (82.5) and Ouachita Baptist (79.5).
“The kids tried to win it today and we came up just a little short,” said head coach David James, whose team won 13 of 15 matches on the day. “We had a great tournament and I’m really happy with our effort. We scored more points than we did last year in winning it, so it’s hard to be displeased.
“More importantly, we’ve got nine guys moving on to the national tournament and that’s the one we want to win.”
Henderson had the most dramatic of UCO’s four finals victories with a second-period pin of Notre Dame’s Eric Burgey. The third-ranked Burgey had escaped 20 seconds into the period to take a 1-0 lead, but the sixth-rated Henderson whipped him to his back a minute later and got the fall at the 4:26 mark.
The top-ranked Rowell capped a 4-0 tournament with a 7-3 finals victory over Ashland’s No. 6 Michael Labry, picking up a pair of takedowns and nearly four minutes riding time in taking the gold medal. Rowell didn’t give up a point in his first three matches with two shutouts and a fall and has now won 27 matches in a row.
Basks needed overtime to claim his championship, pulling out a 6-4 triumph over Truman State’s Ryan Maus on a takedown with 22 seconds left in the one-minute sudden victory period. The second-ranked Basks had a third-period reverse to make it 3-3 and appeared en route to winning on riding time before being called for a locked hands penalty with two seconds left that forced OT.
Dauphin made it two close wins in a row at 157, slipping past Notre Dame’s Jeffrey Pelton 3-2 on a riding time point. Dauphin had the only offensive points in the tense, physical showdown with a second-period reverse and his 2:21 riding time was the difference after Pelton tied it with escapes in the second and third stanzas.
Graham used a pair of takedowns to claim a 6-4 consolation semifinal victory over Findlay’s Joseph White before dropping a tough 10-8 sudden victory decision to Central Missouri’s Eric Mateo in the third-place match. Graham was penalized for locked hands with two seconds in regulation to force overtime and Mateo got the winning takedown 20 seconds into the one-minute sudden victory period.
Watson won two matches to claim third and earn his second straight trip to the national tournament, jumping to a big lead in the semifinals before scoring a third-period fall and then racking up more than four minutes riding time in a methodical 5-1 victory over Ouachita Baptist’s Dexter Carter.
Ferrell all pulled out two wins to come back from Saturday’s overtime semifinal loss to capture third. The junior blanked Lake Erie’s Mike Samijlenko 4-0 in the semifinals and then used a final-minute takedown to secure a 3-0 shutout of Limestone’s Justin Tribble in the consolation finals.
Cody Dauphin gave UCO its third bronze medalist with a pair of tough wins. He was clinging to a 2-0 third-period lead before reversing Ashland’s Tyler Houska to his back and getting a fall and then used a riding time point to trim Tiffin’s Kevin Christman 2-1 for third.
Keck dropped a 3-1 semifinal decision, but bounced back with an easy 14-6 major decision in the fifth-place match behind a four-takedown attack and then scored an improbable fall in the fourth-place challenge match to earn a national tournament berth.
The senior trailed Central Missouri’s Clarence Neely 3-0 late in the second period when the two got tangled up on the edge of the mat, with Keck able to maneuver Neely to his back and score a fall without a takedown being awarded just one second ahead of the buzzer.
NCAA DIVISION II SUPER REGIONAL II TOURNAMENT
133 – Casy Rowell, UCO, dec. Michael Labry, Ashland, 7-3.
149 – Jordan Basks, UCO, dec. Ryan Maus, Truman State, 6-4 (SV).
157 – Cory Dauphin, UCO, dec. Jeffrey Pelton, Notre Dame, 3-2.
174 – Kelly Henderson, UCO, pinned Eric Burgey, Notre Dame, 4:26.
141 – Eric Mateo, Central Missouri, dec. Trison Graham, UCO, 10-8 (SV).
165 – Chris Watson, UCO, dec. Dexter Carter, Ouachita Baptist, 5-1.
197 – Znick Ferrell, UCO, dec. Justin Tribble, Limestone, 3-0.
Hvy – Cody Dauphin, UCO, dec. Kevin Christman, Tiffin, 2-1.
184 – Tanner Keck, UCO, major dec. Zev Green, Lake Erie, 14-6.
CHALLENGE FOR FOURTH
184 – Keck, UCO, pinned Clarence Neely, Central Missouri, 4:59.
141 – Graham, UCO, dec. Joseph White, Findlay, 6-4.
165 – Watson, UCO, pinned Markus Cromwell, Belmont-Abbey, 6:24.
184 – Charles Mason, Notre Dame, dec. Keck, UCO, 3-1.
197 – Ferrell, UCO, dec. Mike Samijlenko, Lake Erie, 4-0.
Hvy – Dauphin, UCO, pinned Tyler Houska, Ashland, 5:30.