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    Walpole wins first-ever UIndy national title in wrestling

    KEARNEY, Neb.-- Nick Walpole became the first UIndy wrestler to bring home a national championship in program history with a 4-2 win in the 149-pound bout of the NCAA Division II National Championships Saturday night at Nebraska-Kearney. The Greyhound's Matt Irwin was also an All-American at the meet, taking sixth in the 141 bracket.

    "I am extremely excited to be leaving with two All-Americans," UIndy head coach Jason Warthan said. "I truly believed coming into the national meet that we could leave with two national champions. Matt and Nick believed it as well."

    Walpole won the title in dramatic fashion, in being awarded a takedown just before the final buzzer of the third period to break a 2-2 tie. The title came over T.J. Hepburn of Nebraska-Kearney.

    With the national title win, Walpole finishes the year with a record of 41-3. Coming into the national meet, Hepburn was ranked No. 2 in the 149 weight class, while Walpole came in ranked No. 3.

    "Nick wrestled like he has all year," Warthan said. "He really doesn't do anything fancy. Everybody he wrestles knows exactly what he is going to do but he still gets it done. One of the things I always say to Nick before he goes into a big match is to find ways to win. He certainly did that in the finals when he was finally able to have a front headlock in the middle of the mat."

    En route to the title, Walpole won a pair of matches on Day I of the championships. He earned his trip to the finals via a pin in 5:59 over Mitchell Means of Fort Hays State in the bracket semifinals.

    Irwin earned his first All-American honors in his third time at the NCAA Division II National Championships, finishing sixth in the 141 bracket.

    "Matt came a little short of his goal but he has so much to be proud of," Warthan said. "He wrestled to win every match this weekend. Unfortunately, he busted up his ankle in his second match today which didn't allow him to move like he normally moves. Matt has had such a great career and he is very deserving of his All-American status."

    Irwin, who previously qualified for the national meet in 2007 and 2009, won both of his matches on Day I of the event to advance to the semifinals of the bracket. The Greyhound senior bested Jimmy Savala of Chadron State in his first bout, 9-6, and then then beat Jack Bachman of Pitt.-Johnstown 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

    Day II was not as kind to Irwin, who started the second session with a loss in the semifinals to the eventual champion, No. 1 Mario Morgan of Nebraska-Omaha, 5-3. Irwin then lost in the consolation semifinals and the fifth/sixth place match to earn his sixth place finish.

    As a team, UIndy finished 12th of 42. Nebraska-Omaha defended its team title by winning again this year with 102.5 total points. The Mavricks had three individual champions, and were followed by St. Cloud State in second place. Augustana was 2011's third place finisher.

    Prior to Walpole's championship, the Greyhounds have had five wrestlers finish second at nationals, but never first. Shane Perkey was the last UIndy grappler to make the final, losing in the 133-pound championship in 2008.

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