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Black and Gold Scrimmage opens wrestling season

By Jonathan Bym
Assistant Sports Editor

October 25, 2012

Photo by Jonathan Bym
UNCP's Mike Williams faces off with his opponent during the Black and Gold scrimmage. Williams, a 2012 Division II National Champion, was ranked first in his weight class in the preseason coaches' poll.

The 12th ranked UNCP men's wrestling team opened up the season on Oct. 17 as they hosted a Black and Gold scrimmage inside the English Jones Center.

In front of a fairly large crowd, the Braves were introduced one-by-one as they went to their respective sides of the mats. The intra-squad scrimmage set up matches between wrestlers of their own weight class.

After the brief introduction, Head Coach Othello Johnson called upon Chancellor Kyle Carter, Athletic Director Dan Kenney, Senior Mike Williams as well as several other members of the coaching staff to be awarded with their national championship rings for Williams' accomplishments last season.

Following the presentation, the Black and Gold grapplers hit the mats and competed to show off their skill set this early in the season.

The Braves enter this season with a national ranking after finishing last season with a ninth place ranking in the national polls.

The Black and Gold also join Newberry, Pitt-Johnstown and Kutztown as the only Super Region I teams on the 20 team ranking. UNCP will face off with all of these opponents at least once this season.

Williams and redshirt sophomore Daniel Owensby also received recognition from the coaches' poll as Williams was selected as preseason number one for the 174 pound weight class in the nation and Owensby was selected second in the nation for the 141 pound weight class.

Owensby made the most of his first season in Pembroke last season as he was able to capture third place in the national championship.

With a 33-5 overall record and a perfect 9-0 record in dual meets, Owensby was able to power the Black and Gold last season. Four of his total five losses came against wrestlers that were fourth or better in the nation. Owensby comes into the rankings right behind BJ Young of Newberry.

In the midst of a 33-match winning streak, Williams will open the 2012-2013 campaign with the laurel of top 174 pound wrestler in Division II.

The senior now has a career record of 74-9 on his career and looks to bring another national championship back to UNCP. Last season Williams went 34-1 en route to his national title victory over Mason Findlay of Findlay by a 5-2 decision.

The Braves will open the season at the Citadel Open on Nov. 3 and then will come home to host the Pembroke Classic on Nov. 10.

Belmont Abbey will host the Braves on Nov. 27 for the Black and Gold's first dual meet of the season.

In the month of December, the Braves will do a lot of traveling as they have four tournaments lined up: Southern Virginia Open, Newberry Duals, Midwest Classic and Citrus Invitational.

On Jan. 26, the Black and Gold will face off with some of the top teams in the nation at the Super Region I Duals.

Feb. 1 and 5, the Black and Gold will host their only dual meets of the season when they take on Anderson and Limestone.

The Braves will open up postseason play on Feb. 22 when they compete in the Super Region I Duals hosted at Kutztown.

This season's Division II National Championships will be held in Birmingham, Ala.

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