KEARNEY, Neb. - CSU-Pueblo's first wrestling season in eight years came to an early end Saturday at the RMAC/NCAA Division II West Regional Championships as the Pack failed to qualify any wrestlers for nationals, finishing 10th as a team.
The ThunderWolves managed to place three wrestlers in the top six at their respective weights, but none on the top four at any weight, the benchmark required to qualify for nationals, which take place on Mar. 13 in Houston, Tex.
The Pack's best shot and top wrestler in 2009, Louie DeSantis (Jr., Escondido, Calif.), went 3-2 at 149 pounds, getting bounced out of the championship bracket by Fort Hays State's Levi Younkin. DeSantis battled back, however, meeting Younkin again in the 5th place match, defeating him by a 6-5 decision.
DeSantis was joined at 5th place by197-pounder Tony Chavarria (Fr., Pueblo, Colo.), who went 4-2 and earned the 5th place title by taking down Fort Hays State's Ben Evans by a 5-2 decision.
The Pack's other placer was Keenen Funk (Jr., Riverton, Wyo.) at 157 pounds, who advanced all the way to the semifinals before stumbling in the consolation bracket. Funk scored an upset win over Mesa State's Chase Walker, the second-seed at 157 and ranked as the third best at his weight in the nation. Walker eventually finished third and qualified for nationals, but Funk got in a funk, losing three straight, including the 5th place match to Nebraska-Kearney's Keenan McCurday by a 9-4 decision.
CSU-Pueblo finished 10th overall as a team out of 11 in the RMAC, only finishing ahead of Grand Canyon.