PUEBLO, Colo. For the second straight season, the St. Cloud State University wrestling team finished as the runner up in the NCAA Division II Championship tournament and an individual wrestler won a National Championship as senior Derek Skala (St. Cloud) took home the 184-pound title Saturday night on the University of Colorado-Pueblo campus.
The University of Nebraska-Kearney took home the National Title with 107 team points, while St. Cloud scored 95 points.
The Huskies and Nebraska-Kearney were tied at 91 points heading into the championship round with three wrestlers competing in the championship round for both teams. UNK then won all three National Titles at 141, 149 and 157 pounds to edge St. Cloud, who took home one National Title in three tries.
Skala (St. Cloud) (31-3) finished his career with a National Championship exclamation point, after a stellar 9-3 win in his 184-pound match against Adam Walters of Findlay.
It is the second SCSU individual national title in two years and fourth in school history for the Husky wrestling program after John Sundgren won the 157-pound division a year ago for the Huskies.
Heavyweight junior Jake Kahnke (Shakopee) (38-2) lost a 3-1 heartbreaker in overtime to Northern State University’s Matt Meuleners. It was the second straight season Kahnke has lost to Meuleners in the National Championship.
Junior Andy Pokorny (Bennington, Neb.) lost to No. 1 ranked Trevor Franklin out of Upper Iowa University in a tough 3-2 match for the National title to end the season 24-7 overall.
Pokorny scored 19 points for the Huskies in the tournament to earn All-American Honors for the first time in his career. Franklin ended his season with a perfect 31-0 record after the win.
Earlier in the day, senior Tad Merritt (Canby) won the third place match in the 165-pound match 3-0 against UNK’s Joey Wilson to set the school record for most wins in a career with 144. He also beat his own school record for pins in a season with 18 to go with All-American honors and a 38-3 overall record in 2011-12.
Junior Shamus O’Grady (Coon Rapids) was named All-American at 174 pounds after a fourth place finish Saturday. He lost the third place match to Western State College’s Elliot Copeland. O’Grady scored 14.50 team points for the tournament and finished the season with a 14-3 record.
Senior Lucas Munkelwitz (Forest Lake) ended his career as an All-American after finishing in fourth place at 197-pounds and a 29-7 overall record. He lost his third place match 7-5 to East Stroudsburg’s Eddie Ebewo and scored 11.50 team points for SCSU.