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.