Trio lead Mules at Nebraska-Kearney Open

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(KEARNEY, Neb.) — Three freshmen paced the Mules wrestling team Saturday during the Nebraska-Kearney/Holiday Inn Open at the Buffalo County Exhibition Center.

Hunter Neighbors advanced to the quarterfinals of the 125-pound amateur bracket and finished 2-2 on the day while Benjamin Boyd also finished 2-2 at 197 pounds.

Nolan Smith rounded out the Mules top performers, finishing the open with a 3-2 record at 285 pounds.
Neighbors received a first-round bye in the championship bracket before taking a 5-3 decision over New Mexico Highland’s Nick Pacheco in the second round to advance. The Jefferson City, Missouri native then pinned Alan Callahan of Baker University at 4:44 to move onto the quarterfinals where he came up short, suffering a 12-2 major decision to Drew Templeton of the University of Wyoming.
Neighbors battled Fort Hays State’s Lawson Ludwin in the consolation bracket and dropped the match by an 11-4 decision.
Boyd dropped his round-one championship match at 197 pounds, falling to Baker’s Dylan Berg by a 9-0 major decision. He battled back in the consolation bracket by winning two matches.
Boyd faced Concordia University’s Cameron Bruce in the first match of the consolation bracket, posting a 12-2 major decision for the victory. He then pinned Baker’s Jonathan Hale at 4:42 to advance to the consolation bracket fourth round where he fell to New Mexico Highland’s Francisco Bernal by a 17-0 technical fall.
Smith received a first-round bye in the 285-pound championship bracket before dropping his second-round match to Colorado State-Pueblo’s Mike Miller by a 5-1 decision.
He bounced back in the consolation bracket, winning three matches, two by pin. The first of his victories came by pinning Wayne State’s Ryan Burnison at 1:23 before he turned around and pinned Thom Machal at 1:38, also of Wayne State, to advance to the consolation fourth round.
Smith faced Baker’s Jerome Newman in round four and won the match on a 3-1 decision. He then battled Colorado State-Pueblo’s Miller in the fifth round of the consolation bracket but lost by a 4-1 decision.
The Mules return to the mats Nov. 29, traveling to Benedictine College for their first dual meet of the season. Action is set to begin in Atchison, Kan., at 7 p.m.