Williams Captures National Championship, Ownbey Third, Nolan Sixth
PUEBLO, Colo. – All-American Mike Williams completed an unblemished two-day run through the 165-pound tournament with a 5-2 decision in the national championship match with Findlay's Mason True to help give UNCP an eighth-place finish in the final the team standings at the NCAA Championships.
The result gave the Braves their first-ever national championship (team or individual) in wrestling, while giving UNCP its first national championship of any kind since former track & field standout Garry Henry grabbed the title in the 10,000-meter run at the 1982 national championships.
Redshirt freshman Daniel Ownbey completed his four-win run through the consolation bracket at 141 pounds with three victories over nationally-ranked individuals en route to third place. Shane Nolan, who posted two wins on Friday to book an appearance in the semifinals at 197 pounds, finished the tournament with a 2-3 record and a sixth-place finish.
The performances by the trio gave the Braves 42-1/2 team points and tie for eighth alongside eighth-ranked Adams State among the 42 teams that were represented at the event. It is the best finish for a UNCP wrestling team since the 2004-05 squad finished seventh in the team standings.
Williams booked a takedown in the first period to grab the early lead over True, and then scored two more points on a reversal in the second stanza. He would stretch his lead out to 5-1 with an escape in the third period, but yielded a stalling point to provide the final.
Williams booked his ticket into the championship bout with a somewhat defensive victory over fourth-ranked Joey Wilson in Saturday afternoon's semifinals. Williams scored a first period takedown to take a 2-0 lead into the second period and rode Wilson for the entirety of the second period to build a comfortable advantage. Williams would surrender just a stall point in the final stanza.
Ownbey, who clinched his first all-American laurels on Friday evening, began his day with a dominating 7-5 overtime decision over fifth-ranked Tywan Claxton of King, and then booked his spot in the third place match with a 9-7 decision over second-ranked Trevor Johnson of Mary (N.D.). Ownbey would complete his four-win run through the consolation bracket with a tight 3-2 victory over third-ranked Chism Fink of Augustana (S.D.) for third-place laurels.
Nolan, who also collected his first all-American honors with a win in each session on Friday, dropped his quarterfinal matchup with top-ranked Dan Scanlan of Limestone by a 17-0 technical fall, and then suffered heartbreak on the heels of a 5-4 overtime loss to seventh-ranked Ed Ebewo of East Stroudsburg. Nolan would wrap up his stay at the national championships with a 13-0 loss by major decision to sixth-ranked Charles Morgan from King in the fifth-place matchup.
No. 7 Daniel Ownbey (UNCP) maj. dec. Tyrell Galloway (Maryville) M 16-7
No. 1 Dalton Jensen (Nebraska-Kearney) dec. No. 7 Daniel Ownbey (UNCP) D 7-4
No. 7 Daniel Ownbey (UNCP) maj. dec. No. 8 Max Ortega (Adams State) M 15-6
+ No. 7 Daniel Ownbey (UNCP) dec. No. 5 Tywan Claxton (King) SV 7-5
+ No. 7 Daniel Ownbey (UNCP) dec. No. 2 Trevor Johnson (Mary, N.D.) D 9-7
+ No. 7 Daniel Ownbey (UNCP) dec. No. 3 Chism Fink (Augustana, S.D.) D 3-2
No. 2 Mike Williams (UNCP) dec. Cody Quinn (Minnesota State-Mankato) D 7-1
No. 2 Mike Williams (UNCP) maj. dec. Chester Granard (Colorado Mesa) M 9-0
+ No. 2 Mike Williams (UNCP) dec. No. 4 Joey Wilson (Nebraska-Kearney) D 2-1
+ No. 2 Mike Williams (UNCP) dec. No. 5 Mason True (Findlay) D 5-2
No. 8 Shane Nolan (UNCP) dec. Sean Derry (Augustana, S.D.) D 8-6
No. 8 Shane Nolan (UNCP) dec. Joseph Brandt (Ashland) D 4-2
+ No. 1 Dan Scanlan (Limestone) tech. fall No. 8 Shane Nolan (UNCP) TF 17-0; 5:30
+ No. 7 Ed Ebewo (East Stroudsburg) dec. No. 8 Shane Nolan (UNCP) TB 5-4
+ No. 6 Charles Morgan (King) maj. dec. No. 8 Shane Nolan (UNCP) M 13-0
+ - Match wrestled on Saturday