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Williams captures UNCP’s first national championship in wrestling

March 12, 2012

All-American wrestler Mike Williams won a NCAA national championship in the 165-pound weight class on Saturday, March 10. He is UNC Pembroke’s first national champion in wrestling, and it is the university’s first national championship in any sport since 1982.

19mike_williams.jpgWilliams defeated the University of Findlay’s Mason True 5-2 in the finals to help give UNCP an eighth-place finish in the team standings at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

The university won its last national championship when track & field standout Garry Henry won the 10,000-meter run at the 1982 national championships. In 1978, UNCP won a team cross-country championship.

Redshirt freshman Daniel Ownbey completed his four-win run through the consolation bracket at 141 pounds with three victories over nationally-ranked opponents en route to third place. Shane Nolan, who posted two wins on Friday to reach the semifinals at 197 pounds, finished the tournament with a 2-3 record and sixth-place.

The performance by the trio gave the Braves 42.5 team points and tie for eighth with eighth-ranked Adams State College. Forty-two teams were entered. It is the best finish for a UNCP wrestling team since the 2004-05 squad finished seventh.

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Daniel Ownbey

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Shane Nolan

Williams earned a takedown in the first period to take an early lead over True, and then he scored two more points on a reversal in the second period. He stretched his lead out to 5-1 with an escape in the third period, but yielded a stalling point for the final score.

Williams got into the championship bout with a victory over fourth-ranked Joey Wilson of the University of Nebraska at Kearney in Saturday afternoon’s semifinals. Williams scored a first period takedown to take a 2-0 lead into the second period and dominated Wilson for the second period to build a comfortable lead. Williams surrendered only a point for stalling in the final stanza.

Ownbey, who clinched his first All-American honors on Friday, began his day with a 7-5 overtime decision over fifth-ranked Tywan Claxton of King’s College and then earned his spot in the third place match with a 9-7 decision over second-ranked Trevor Johnson of the University of Mary (N.D.). Ownbey completed his four-win run through the consolation bracket with a close 3-2 victory over third-ranked Chism Fink of Augustana College (S.D.) for a third-place finish.

Nolan, who also collected his first All-American honors with a win in each session on Friday, dropped his quarterfinal match with top-ranked Dan Scanlan of Limestone College by a 17-0 technical fall and then suffered a 5-4 overtime loss to seventh-ranked Ed Ebewo of East Stroudsburg University. Nolan wrapped up his trip to the national championships with a 13-0 loss by major decision to sixth-ranked Charles Morgan from King College in the fifth-place matchup.