The UNCP wrestling team continued their post-season pursuits as they sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Division II National Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The two-day tournament that was held on March 9 and 10 at the U.S. Cellular Center and featured 52 schools from across the country. On the first day of the tournament, at 165 pounds, junior transfer Rodney Shepard won both of his matches and advanced to the semifinal round on Saturday.
Despite tasting early defeat, freshman Nick Daggett, at 125 pounds, and senior Eric Milks, at March 22, 2018 Sports 7A Wrestling Has a Trio Place at National Championship 157 pounds, responded with a pair of wins in their respective brackets. They both secured places in the second day’s Parade of All-Americans.
Redshirt sophomore Tyler Makosy was the only Brave not to advance after he suffered two decision losses. After falling to a 11-4 decision, to a ranked opponent, Daggett rebounded with 7-1 and 10-6 decision wins. Milks bounced back from being pinned in the first period of his first match with a pair of 7-2 and 5-4 victories of his own.
Shepard continued to shine in his first year as a Brave as he dominated in his first match of the day with a 7-2 decision victory over a ranked opponent. Shepard grinded out a 9-7 decision win to secure a spot in the semifinals. Despite not winning any of their consolation matches on day two, Daggett and Milks placed eighth in their respective weight classes.
Although Shepard lost in the semifinal round and his first consolation bout in decision losses, he was still able to finish fifth in his weight division with a second-period pin. As a team, the Braves placed in the nation’s top 25 teams for the 12th consecutive season.
They finished the weekend in 15th place among the teams in the tournament.