Kearney, Neb. – The fourth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team defeated the hometown Bellarmine Knights, 36-3, and second-ranked Pittsburgh-Johnstown Mountain Cats, 24-16, to reach the semifinals of the 2020 NWCA Multi-Division National Duals Friday in Louisville, Ky.
Seeded sixth, the Lopers (5-2) beat BU in the morning and UPJ in the afternoon. They’ll now face No. 5 McKendree (Ill.) Saturday at 10 a.m. Central in one semifinal dual. The other side of the bracket features top-ranked St. Cloud State vs. No. 6 Central Oklahoma.
UNK easily got past Bellarmine, soon to be a Division I program, on Friday morning as they racked up four bonus point wins. Top-ranked Josh Portillo (Clarion, Ia.) did have to work for an 11-10 win at 125 pounds as his 8-2 lead vanished in the third period but some riding time allowed him to get past Brandon Lucas. Two weights higher Grand Island junior Jonathan Killingsworth, ranked 12th nationally, got past Gage Branson by a 5-2 margin thanks to first period takedown and third period reversal. Branson came in ranked ninth at 149 pounds.
Finally transfer Anthony Mancini (Middletown, Del.) had an 18-0 tech fall at 184 pounds and Illinois sophomore Andrew Demos followed with a 3:56 fall at 197 pounds.
Demos proved key in the UPJ dual as UNK was behind 16-15 when he managed a takedown with 57 seconds left to best Tyler Oliver by a 9-7 score. Demos trailed the entire match including by a 6-4 margin before a reversal with 1:41 left in the third. Second-ranked Jarrod Hinrichs (Geneva) secured things when he recorded a second period fall at heavyweight. He was already up 4-1 before sticking Allen Beattie at 6:20.
Earlier in the action top-ranked Matt Malcom (Glenwood, Ia.) recorded an 8-2 win at 165 pounds with junior Wesley Dawkins (Lincoln) pinning Matt Siska in 1:28 at 133 pounds to give Kearney a 9-0 lead. Finally Portillo capped off a strong day by besting fifth-ranked Brendan Howard, 4-1.