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Williams wins national championship

By Curtis Brooks
Sports Editor

March 15, 2012

Photo by Nick Phillips
UncP junior Mike Williams wrestles an opponent in the ncaa super region i Tournament. Williams capped his season with the first-ever national championship for the Braves' wrestling program.

UNCP junior Mike Williams became the first Black and Gold wrestler to ever win a national championship, etching his place in history on March 10 at the 2012 NCAA National Championships in Pueblo, Colo.

Williams defeated Findlay junior Mason True in the championship bout of the 165-pound weight class by a 5-2 decision for the title.

In addition to earning the first national title in wrestling program history, Williams gave UNCP its first National Championship overall since 1982 when track and field star Garry Henry captured the title in the 10,000-meter run.

Williams was joined in Colorado by teammates Shane Nolan and Daniel Ownbey, as the trio all earned All-American honors for their efforts on March 9 and 10.

Ownbey capped his freshman season at UNCP with a third-place honor, while Nolan, a senior, finished his career in the Black and Gold with a sixth-place finish.

Williams, who came into the tournament ranked second in the country in his weight class, was a perfect 4-0 over the two days of competition. The New Jersey native started his quest to the title by earning a 7-1 decision win in his opening bout against Cody Quinn from Minnesota State Mankato before earning 9-0 major decision victory over Chester Granard from Colorado Mesa University.

In the semifinals, the three-time All-American was able to hold off the University of Nebraska Kearney senior and No. 4- ranked Joey Wilson by earning a 2-1 decision in a defensive bout to book his spot in the Championship.

In the title bout, Williams booked a first period takedown to establish an early lead over True, the fifth-ranked wrestler in the country. The junior then added two more points on a reversal move in the second period to earn the championship title.

Daniel Ownbey

Ownbey opened his first national tournament with a 16-7 major decision victory over Maryville's Tyrell Galloway before losing a 7-4 decision to the top-ranked wrestler in the 147-pound weight class, Dalton Jensen from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Ownbey won four-straight matches as he fought through the consolation bracket to earn third-place laurels in his weight class. He opened the winning streak with a 15-6 major decision win and then grabbed a 7-5 sudden victory to stay alive before notching a 9-7 decision win to get to the third-place matchup.

In the third-place contest, Ownbey defeated No. 3-ranked Chism Fink from Augustana to cap his first season as a Brave.

Shane Nolan

Nolan collected a pair of victories over Sean Derry from Augustana College and Joseph Brandt from Ashland University in the 197-pound division in the opening day's action, before dropping his quarterfinal bout to No. 1 Dan Scanlan from Limestone College 17-0 by technical fall to the consolation bracket.

The first-time All-American lost his final two bouts of his collegiate career, to seventh-ranked Ed Wbewo of East Stroudsburg and sixth-ranked Charles Morgan from King College to finish sixth in the 197-pound weight class.


The three Black and Gold wrestlers gave UNCP an eighth-place finish out of 42 teams that competed in the NCAA Championships.

The Braves finished with 42 team points as they grabbed their best overall team finish since 2004-2005.

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Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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