KEARNEY, Neb. – The No. 2 ranked St. Cloud State University wrestling squad finished the first day of the NCAA Division II Championships in third place, as three wrestlers earned trips to the semifinal championship round of the tournament Friday evening at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Health and Sports Center.
The Huskies head into Saturday with 47 points, as senior and No. 4 ranked John Sundgren, Sophomore Shamus O’Grady and sophomore Jake Kahnke all will be competing in the semifinal championship rounds Saturday afternoon, as the third session of the tournament kicks off at 10 a.m. with the championship rounds to start at 7 p.m.
The University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) sits in first place with 57.5 points and Augustana College is in second place with 54.5 points.
For a complete list of team scores and individual matches Click Here!
Junior Eric Ellington lost a heartbreaking 6-4 match to Timdarius Thurston of the University of North Carolina Pembroke to start the quarterfinal round, as Thurston recordedatakedown in the final seconds to break a 4-4 tie. Ellington was eliminated from the tournament with the loss and finishes the season 17-11 overall.
In the 141-pound match, No. 6 Gabe Suarez (26-9) got back on the winning side after a first round loss with a 14-3 major decision over Simon Rice of Shippensburg in the wrestle back bracket.
He then faced Deral Brown of Newberry where he earned a crucial 4-3 win to move on to competition on Saturday. He will compete against Jimmy Savala of Chadron State.
In the second Husky quarterfinal match of the evening session, No. 5 ranked junior Jacob D. Horn (27-10) lost another close 3-2 matchup in the 140-pound class to TJ Hepburn of UNK to drop into the wrestle-back bracket.
Horn then posted an 8-6 win over Daniel Genetin of Ashland University to move on to competition Saturday. He will take on Esai Dominguez of UNO Saturday afternoon.
Senior and No. 4 ranked John Sundgren (14-3) earned an 8-5 decision over Seth Phalen of San Francisco State University (SFSU) in the 157-pound weight class to move on to the semifinal match Saturday morning where he will compete against Jordan Shields of Mercyhurst.
Senior and No. 2 ranked Tad Merritt (36-4) was then pinned by Zach McKendree of Gannon in the 165-pound match, as McKendree recorded his 33rd win of the season. The fall came 33 seconds into the first period.
Merritt then faced Chester Granard of Mesa State and put an exclamation point on the final Husky match of the day with an 8-0 major decision to advance to the final day of the tournament. Merritt will face Brandon Kelly of Ashland Saturday.
Sophomore Shamus O’Grady (29-7) pinned Gene Choi of SFSU with 14 seconds to go in his 174-pound match that he controlled from start to finish. O’ Grady will move on to the semifinal round of the tournament and will face Luke Rynish of the University of Wisconsin Parkside on Saturday.
Junior Lucas Munkelwitz (19-10) and Eddie Ebewo of East Stroudsburg batted to a 1-1 tie in regulation in the wrestle-back bracket 197-pounds. Ebewo recordedatakedown 18 seconds into overtime to end the 3-1 match and Munkelwitz’s season.
In the final quarterfinal championship match No 1. ranked heavyweight Jacob Kahnke (28-1) recorded a pin at the 4:29 mark in a win over Brandon Hayes of University of Central Missouri to put himself in the semifinals on Saturday.
All six Huskies competing tomorrow have earned All-American honors for their stellar performances in the tournament.