(at Nebraska-Kearney)

March 12-13, 2011

Final Team Scoring
1. Nebraska-Omaha 102.5
2. St. Cloud State 90.5
3. Augustana 81.5
4. Upper Iowa 66
5. Western State 64
6. Newberry 60
7. Grand Canyon 58
8. Nebraska-Kearney 53.5
9. Wisc.-Parkside 43
10. (tie) Minnesota State-Mankato, Pitt-Johnstown 31.5
12. Indianapolis 31
13. Central Oklahoma 26.5
14. Findlay 26
15. Northern State 23
16. Gannon 22.5
17. (tie) WEST LIBERTY, UNC-Pembroke 20
19. San Francisco State 18.5
20. Ashland 18
21. Adams State 15.5
22. (tie) Fort Hays State, Shippensburg 13.5
24. Kutztown 13
25. Mercyhurst 11.5

KEARNEY, Neb. – West Liberty University senior Mitch Knapp has locked up his second consecutive All-America honor and is still in the hunt for a national championship at 197 pounds heading into the final day of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships at the UNK Health and Sports Center on the campus of Nebraska-Kearney University.

Knapp, who finished 5th at 197 pounds a year ago, upped his record to a dazzling 27-3 on the season with a pair of wins on Saturday, locking up back-to-back NCAA Division II All-America honors as one of the eight remaining wrestlers in his weight class.

The top eight wrestlers in each weight class are accorded All-American status.

Knapp, who entered the tournament ranked No. 8 in the nation at 197 pounds, started things off on Friday by outlasting Central Oklahoma’s unranked Jarrett Edison, 3-1, in a first-round match.

That sent Knapp into the quarterfinals against No. 6-ranked Luke McPeek of Adams State (Colo.) and the West Liberty veteran cruised to a 9-3 win.

Knapp wasn’t taken down in either of his two matches on Friday. All four of the points scored by his opponents came on escapes.

The Hilltoppers’ four-year national qualifier carries his quest for a national title into Saturday’s championship semifinal against Grand Canyon’s Eli Arismendez (22-2), who is ranked No. 5 in the nation.

Knapp was the only one of West Liberty’s four national qualifiers to make it through Friday’s meat grinder into Saturday’s placing matches.

Seth Phalen, the Hilltoppers’ unranked senior 157-pounder, got his tournament off to a flying start with a second-period fall against No. 8-ranked Josh Nolan of San Francisco State in their first-round match.

The West Liberty senior couldn’t build off that momentum and dropped a 9-5 decision to No. 4-ranked Josh Sundgren of St. Cloud State in the championship quarterfinals.

Phalen then was victimized by a tough draw in his second-round consolation match, coming up short in an 8-1 decision against No. 1-ranked George Ivanov of Nebraska-Omaha. Ivanov had dropped into the wrestlebacks after being upset by unranked Winston Robbins of Upper Iowa in his first-round match.

At 165 pounds, Hilltopper junior Jarrod Shaw came out on the short end of an 8-3 decision against No. 3-ranked Michael Lybarger of Findlay in his first-round match. Shaw then dropped a 2-1 nailbiter to unranked Chester Granard of Mesa State in a first-round consolation bout.

Junior 285-pounder JD Ramsey was making his second consecutive appearance at nationals but couldn’t get anything going on Friday. Ramsey was matched against No. 1-ranked Jake Kahnke of St. Cloud State in a first-round match and dropped a 17-3 major decision. Unranked Patrick Carey of Colorado State-Pueblo outlasted Ramsey, 4-2, in a first-round consolation match.

Two-time defending champion Nebraska-Omaha leads the team competition with 57.5 points but UNO is being pushed hard by surprising Augustana, which has 54.5 points and 6 wrestlers still alive in the championship bracket.

The championship semifinals begin at 11 a.m. (EST) on Saturday with the championship matches set for an 8 p.m. (EST) start on Saturday night.

West Liberty University senior Mitch Knapp made his fourth and final trip to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships a special one here at the UNK Health and Sports Center on the campus of Nebraska-Kearney University.

The senior All-American from McConnellsville, Ohio scored a first-period fall in his championship semifinal match on Saturday and ended his Hilltopper career as the national runner-up at 197 pounds.

Knapp dropped a 10-3 decision to defending 197-pound champion Donovan McMahill of Western State in Saturday night’s championship final.

The West Liberty standout, who came into the tournament ranked No. 8 nationally at 197 pounds, came up with three escapes in the final but couldn’t take down the defending champion, who completed a 31-0 season with his 50th consecutive victory.

Knapp, who wrapped up his senior season with an impressive 27-6 mark while earning his second consecutive NCAA Division II All-America honor, punched his ticket to Saturday night’s championship match with an impressive performance in the semifinals.

The Hilltopper veteran was matched against No. 5-ranked Eli Arismendez of Grand Canyon (Ariz.), who came into the semifinal bout with only two losses in 24 matches this season.

Knapp scored the match’s first takedown in the opening period and was able to get a tilt on the Grand Canyon grappler as the final seconds counted down on the first-period clock. One last effort brought the referee’s hand slamming down on the mat just one second before the end of the period.

Knapp’s victory was one of only two first-period pins in 20 championship semifinal matches on Saturday.

Nebraska-Omaha won its third straight national title with 102.5 points as three UNO wrestlers picked up individual championships. No other school had more than one champion.

St. Cloud State was second at 90.5 with Augustana (81.5), Upper Iowa (66) and Western State (64) rounding out the top five. West Liberty finished in a tie for 17th place with 20 points.


Championship First Round
Seth Phalen (WLU) p. Josh Nolan (SFS), 4:57
Championship Quarterfinal
John Sundgren (SCS) d. Seth Phalen (WLU), 9-5
Consolation Second Round
George Ivanov (UNO) d. Seth Phalen (WLU), 8-1

Championship First Round
Michael Lybarger (Find) d. Jarrod Shaw (WLU), 8-3
Consolation First Round
Chester Granard (MSC) d. Jarrod Shaw (WLU), 2-1

Championship First Round
Mitch Knapp (WLU) d. Jarrett Edison (UCO), 3-1
Championship Quarterfinals
Mitch Knapp (WLU) d. Luke McPeek (AS), 9-3
Championship Semifinal
Mitch Knapp (WLU) p. Eli Arismendez (GC), 2:59
Championship Final
Donovan McMahill (WSC) d. Mitch Knapp (WLU), 10-3

Championship First Round
Jake Kahnke (SCS) d. JD Ramsey (WLU), 17-3
Consolation First Round
Patrick Carey (CSU-P) d. JD Ramsey (WLU), 4-2

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