Nebraska-Kearney lives up to national ranking against Mavs

The Mavericks took their shots, but came away with a similar result.

For the second consecutive night, the injured-plagued Mesa State College wrestling team lost eight of 10 matches in a 37-6 loss to fourth-ranked and defending national champion Nebraska-Kearney in an RMAC dual on Saturday night at Brownson Arena.

“The guys came out and wrestled better,” Mesa State coach Chuck Pipher said. “They weren’t as tense.

“(The Lopers) have a good squad. We won the same amount of matches, but overall, we wrestled better. The guys seemed more relaxed and went after it.”

The Mavericks (4-6-1, 3-4-1 RMAC) host San Francisco State (7-5, 2-1 RMAC) in their final dual of the season at 1 p.m. today.

Jason Wenger (6-13) kept Mesa State in the dual with Kearney early, with a 4-0 decision over Cody Lambotte at 141 pounds.

“It’s been a little bit of a struggle this season so far,” Wenger said. “There really is nothing to lose. I came out relaxed instead of tense and nervous.

“I got a little pep talk from my dad. He was pretty competitive in wrestling.”

The Mesa junior from Colorado Springs, who redshirted last season, cut Mesa’s deficit to 4-3.

Nebraska-Kearney’s Islam Abitov defeated Chris Holzworth, wrestling in place of an injured Keith Johnson, 14-4 at 149 pounds to give the Lopers a 8-3 lead. Mesa junior and third-ranked Chase Walker (22-4) won another close match, defeating Keenan McCurdy (29-13) 2-1 at 157 pounds.

“It was a good win for Jason,” Pipher said. “Chase had a good win. That (Kearney) kid is tough. He wrestled smart. We’ve got to work on our finishing (moves).”

Mesa State had to forfeit at 165 pounds because of Cole Johnson’s hamstring injury he sustained in a loss Friday night.

From there, Nebraska-Kearney (13-5, 4-1 RMAC) dominated, winning the remaining six matches, including two by technical fall and one by pin.

Kearney junior Marty Usman (34-8), who is ranked

No. 1 at 184 pounds, defeated Kyle Brightman by technical fall in 3 minutes, 5 seconds, then No. 7-ranked Paul Sutton defeated Luke Laurita 13-1 at 184.

“Brightman wrestled better,” Pipher said. “He got his shots in tonight. He wrestled with nothing to lose.”

Eighth-ranked Matt Farrell won by technical fall over Andy Laiminger, who wrestled up a weight in place of an injured James Breidel at 197, then Derek Ross pinned Dwayne Bacon, wrestling in place of Trevor Stapp at heavyweight.

Kearney redshirt freshman Jordan White finished the dual with a 6-3 win over Miguel Baltazar.


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