Nebraska-Kearney takes D2 Wrestling Title
This is UNK’s first-ever team national title at the NCAA Division II level; softball won a pair of national titles (1987 and 1990) at the NAIA level. The Lopers, who came into the meet with three national runner up finishes in the last five years, entered the finals with a half point lead over Minnesota State.
UNK got a huge assist from, ironically, Nebraska-Omaha as Cody Garcia won the 125 lbs. national title over Mankato’s Nick Smith, 8-2. In 2004, the Lopers’ Jeff Sylvester helped UNO claim a team national title, by just points over North Dakota State, when he won the 197 lbs. class.
Keeping the Lopers national title hopes alive, senior Brett Allgood won his second national title at 133 lbs. with a 5-3 decision over Shane Perkey of Indianapolis.
However, MSU’s Jason Rhoten (157 lbs.) and Andy Pickar (165 lbs.) won their weight classes to give MSU a brief lead in the overall team race. In Pickar’s 8-2 win, he almost got bonus points late in the third period but the clock thankfully ran out.
Dlagnev finished his career on a 70-match win streak by getting by Central Oklahoma’s Dustin Finn. After a scoreless first period, Finn escaped to take a 1-0 lead in the second. Not forcing any action, Finn was called twice for stalling later in the second, giving Dlagnev a point. The Texan took the lead for good by easily escaping to start the third, then recorded a late takedown to secure the win and team trophy.
UNK head coach Marc Bauer, a Kearney native and the architect behind the Lopers national rise the last decade, was named the Division II Coach of the Year. He also won the award in 2003.
Allgood and Dlagnev join the legendary Ali Elias (1990 & 1991) as the only Lopers to win two national titles. Dlagnev also joins Elias, Sylvester and Bryce Abbey as the only UNK wrestlers to be four-time All-Americans.
UNK needed every win on Saturday as the team started the day almost 10 points behind the MSU Mavericks. The Lopers went 2-2 in the semifinal round but took a big step toward first place when four wrestlers finished third in the afternoon session.
–Excerpt courtesy UNK