Ownbey Repeats as National Champ
By Cody Parker, Sports Editor
By Catherine George, Assistant Sports Editor
Daniel Ownbey won his second straight national championship at 141 pounds on March 14 with a 13-5 win over Corbin Bennetts of Western State in the championship match.
He is the first UNCP wrestler to earn two national championships.
This also marks the third time in the last four years that the UNCP wrestling program has brought home a national championship.
Before Ownbey won the last two, Mike Williams took the 174-pound national title for the 2011-2012 season.
“I just feel honored that I was able to wrestle here for four years and accomplish what I have accomplished,” Ownbey said.
The Braves sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Division II Championships. Ownbey and Giddens placed. Giddens earned a sixth place finish at the event in the 285-pound division.
“Chris (Giddens) is a testament of hard work, all of these young men that went to the national tournament are,” Coach Othello Johnson said.
The other two wrestlers were Juan Stimpson at 165-pounds and Terrance Zaleski at 174-pounds.
They both won in the tournaments opening round on March 13 but lost their next matches.
Both Zaleski and Stimpson lost their first match in the consolation tournament.
Ownbey’s first match of the tournament went into an overtime period.
He scored a takedown in this overtime period to take a 3-1 decision win over Noah Killip of Fort Hays State.
In the quarterfinal round, Ownbey took a 7-3 decision over Darren Wynn of McKendree.
Ownbey got his way into the championship match by defeating Keith Surber of Nebraska-Kearney with a 6-4 decision. He finishes his career with 133 wins, which is third most in program history.
Giddens won his opening round match against Southwest Minnesota States’ Cole Wilson by a 9-3 decision.
In his quarterfinal match, he lost to Trey Page of Fort Hays State in a 4-0 decision.
Giddens won his first match in the consolation tournament with a 3-1 decision over Michael Lowman of Augustana.
He followed that up with a win in the quarterfinals on the consolation bracket.
He beat Jordan Passehl of Colorado Mesa with a 4-3 decision to advance.
Giddens then lost his next two matches to earn a sixth place finish at the event.
Photo by Stefanie Smith. Daniel Ownbey squares off with his opponent in a match earlier this season. Ownbey defended his national title of the 141-pound weight class on March 14.