DES MOINES, Iowa (GoThunderWolves.com - Jan. 11, 2014) - CSU-Pueblo's wrestling squad nearly climbed its way to the nation's top eight at the NCWA/Cliff Keen Division II National Duals Saturday, finishing just shy of placing nationally, going 1-2.
CSU-Pueblo fell to fifth-ranked St. Cloud State 32-6 in the tournament's opening dual, but rebounded to down Truman State (Mo.) 20-15 before falling to Fort Hays State (Kan.) 23-15 as it bowed out of competition.
The ThunderWolves cumulatively went 12-18 over 30 combined individual matches Saturday, led by senior 174-pounder Trevor Grant (Sr., Winnemucca, Nev.), who was the only ThunderWolf to go 3-0 in his matches. Grant recorded one of two match wins vs. St. Cloud State, defeating Clayton Jennissen in a 7-3 decision before gaining major decision win over Truman State's Chase Wrsinger and another decision over Fort Hays State's Josh Rodriguez. In all, Grant outscored his competition 27-7 and showed the dominance that has made him a two-time national qualifier in his career.
The ThunderWolves' lone nationally-ranked wrestler, heavyweight Niko Bogojevic (Jr., Superior, Wisc.), struggled, going 1-2 over three duals. His lone win came over Truman State's Ben Dudley in the deciding match that gave the Pack the 20-15 win in a dominant 6-0 decision. He also nearly emerged with a win over the nation's fifth-ranked heavyweight in Fort Hays State's Jack Page, getting on the short end of a 3-1 sudden victory.
One glaring downfall in the Pack's performance Saturday was its ability to get the six-point pin. Only 133-pounder Tim Urenda (So., Pueblo, Colo.) came through with a pin, while the Pack gave up a total of six six-point losses, three coming by pin and three coming by injury. As a result, CSU-Pueblo had to spot Fort Hays State 12 points by not being able to field wrestlers at 125 pounds and 141 pounds because of injuries, which proved to be difference in the ThunderWolves advancing to a national placing match.
With the Pack hardened by its experience at the National Duals, it returns to Colorado for the start of its Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference schedule on Wed., Jan. 15 when it hosts Chadron State, who, like CSU-Pueblo, is currently receiving mention in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Rankings.