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UNK wrestling poised to repeat as MIAA champs

UNK sophomore heavyweight Jarrod Hinrichs practices in the wrestling room at Nebraska-Kearney, Jan. 23, 2018 (KHGI)

UNK wrestling hasn't had much to look back on in disappointment this season, sitting at 19–1 in duals with two left on the schedule and one more invite in Sioux City this Saturday.

"Our teams really rolling and clicking really well," said head coach Dalton Jensen, in his second year leading the program.

Since falling to St. Cloud State on Jan. 5, the Lopers have won 11 head–to–heads, including going three–for–three against MIAA competition.

"It's kind of that fun part of the year where we have a lot of duals and momentum can really swing in the middle of a dual depending on how one guys doing to the next. Which has really steered the momentum to us in a dual match and it's really showing in our record," Jensen said.

The Loper men are determined to make one last impression on the conference foes before they see them again on Feb. 11 at the MIAA championships in Wichita, Kan.

"Talking to coach Dalton one day, he said something that I think about all the time," sophomore heavyweight Jarrod Hinrichs said. "We don't train to be second or third, in this room we train to be the best, we train for that national title, we train for that MIAA title, and the regional title. We don't want second or third, we just want to be the best."

On the national stage, the Lopers rank twelfth in Division II wrestling, according to the intermatwrestle.com rankings, along with four individuals sitting top 12.

"It's less about the individual wrestler and more about the culture your team builds," adds Keith Surber, currently ranked No. 2 at 149 pounds nationally. "It's about hard work in the practice room and doing the right things off the mat and taking care of business."

When the new rankings come out, expect the sophomore heavyweight Hinrichs to be in there. He's won 18-in-a-row and bumped his record to 31–6 on the season, earning the MIAA Wrestler of the Week for the third time in the last four announcements.

UNK hosts 10th-ranked Central Oklahoma (13-3, 4-0) Thursday night at Kearney High. First match is set for 7 p.m.

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