January 29, 2023

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Loper Wrestlers Ranked Number 1

Kearney, Neb. – Defending national champion Nebraska Kearney is preseason number one in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division II Top 25 poll.

This is a tournament powering ranking index where teams get points based on where individuals are ranked in their respective weight class. A number one ranking is worth 20 points, second is 16 points, third is 13 points etc. Thus, the Lopers tallied 75 points with St. Cloud State (68), Indianapolis (66) and MIAA rival Central Oklahoma (61) close behind.

Head coach Dalton Jensen must replace five starters, including one national champion and two national runners up, off last year’s squad but still has five returning national qualifiers and four returning All-Americans.

Omaha junior Billy Higgins is first at 184 pounds with Kansas redshirt senior Austin Eldredge (174 lbs.) and Kearney redshirt senior Lee Herrington (285 lbs.) both ranked second with Kearney redshirt junior Nick James third at 141 lbs. and South Carolina redshirt senior Hayden Prince fifth at 197 pounds.  At the NCAA Championships in March, Higgins placed third, Eldredge finished fourth with Herrington and James both fifth.

UNK began practice on Oct. 10 and starts the year with an instrasquad scrimmage on Nov. 5 (11 a.m.). The regular season gets underway on Nov. 12 with the Dakota Wesleyan Open and a dual vs. Chadron State (Nov. 13).

Source: Regional Sports