(Neb.)-French Wins UNK Open, Four Place In Amateurs
KEARNEY, Neb. – Senior 197-pounder Wade French won the Elite Division championship at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Younes Hospitality Open on Saturday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds. Four other Chadron State College wrestlers placed in the Amateur brackets, in the first of two major open meets before the Eagles head into the core of dual season.
"Wade is starting to get back to where we saw him last year," said CSC Head Wrestling Coach Brett Hunter. "Today was a pretty good day, overall. We got a lot of mat time, and that's what we need right now. I'm proud of their effort."
French's victories all came by way of decision. After drawing a bye in the opening round, he downed Cole Forrester of Air Force, 5-0, won a 5-4 decision over David Dow, the NAIA's No. 3 197-pounder from Baker University, and then avenged a loss from last week's dual meet, dealing a 9-3 loss to Donald Negus of Colorado Mesa University in the tournament finals. Negus won 5-0 last Saturday.
In the Amateur Division, freshmen Preston Renner and Gavin Eason each placed sixth.
At 165 pounds, Renner opened with a 4-2 win over the fifth-ranked wrestler in junior college, Andrew DeArmond of Barton. He went 4-2 with losses in the quarterfinals and consolation semifinals, with only a match limit preventing him from wrestling for fifth. His opponent would have been Anthony Espinoza of Hastings, whom his teammate Tate Allison pinned two weeks ago in a dual.
At 174, Gavin Eason took a bye in the opening round and made it to the semis with a pair of technical falls. His semifinal match went 9-1 in favor of South Dakota State's Skyler Noftsger, and he lost close decisions in consolation semis and the fifth-place match to finish 2-3.
Two CSC heavyweights ended up placing in the Amateur Division. Redshirt freshman Eli Hinojosa went 5-2 and classmate Mason Watt went 5-1 before match limits took effect for both wrestlers.
Hinojosa opened with a third-period pin over Colorado Mesa's Taj Van der Linde before a 5-2 win over UNK's Jack Cotton to advance to the third round. After a 3-2 loss to Wyoming's Brooks Baker, he reeled off three decisions in a row in consolations before meeting back up with Van der Linde. By rule, match limits allowed him to advance to the fifth-place match, which was listed as a no-contest.
Meanwhile Watt pinned his way into the semi-final round, receiving a bye and winning three consecutive by fall. His only loss was 3-1 to Wyoming's Terren Swartz, and he took one 6-3 from Wyoming's Baker in the consolation semis. He was listed in the results as the third-place finisher after the match for the bronze was labeled no-contest.
(Courtesy Chadron State College)
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