Wrestlers forge ahead despite lack of recognition

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January 14th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – The Nebraska-Omaha wrestling team won another national championship this week. It is another accolade for one of the University’s most successful athletic programs. Despite their winning ways, the wrestlers compete in relative anonymity.

Senior Mario Morgan went 4-0 at the National Duals (Photo courtesy www.omavs.com)

When you are a guest in the UNO wrestling room, or the dojo, as they call it, you’re greeted with a kind of grunt. They say “OOOSSS” and welcome the attention. Though, it seems that attention is something that escapes their grasp. It may be the only thing that escapes a Maverick wrestler. On Sunday, the UNO squad wrapped up a NWCA National Duals championship for the third straight year. Unless you are a die-hard wrestling fan, you may not have heard it. Senior Aaron Denson knows about flying under the radar. He is a two-time all-American, but understands his lot.

“Wrestling itself doesn’t get much publicity,” Denson said. “If it were basketball or football I think we’d get a little bit more. But I don’t think wrestling, as a community, is as popular.”

The seemingly faceless program has a workman mentality. Shouts from the coaching staff of “less talk, more work” can be heard throughout a practice session. They continue winning, even though national audiences don’t see them. Even their leader doesn’t worry about recognition. Coach Mike Denney is far more concerned with moving forward.

“One of the toughest things to do,” Denney said, “for an athlete or a program or for any organization is to stay consistent. Our big challenge is to be consistent, you know, year in and year out.”

Everything about the program exhibits Denney’s attitude. The team’s customs are evident in the banners hanging from the ceiling in the wrestling room. Each one represents a year and a team from the past, six of which are national championship winners. On the banners are symbols, all created by the wrestlers of that team. The dojo stays busy as the Maverick wrestlers pursue their third straight NCAA national title, and chase that consistency that Coach Denney desires. The season continues at 9 a.m. Sunday as UNO hosts the Brand Open at Sapp Fieldhouse.

KVNO NEWS EXCLUSIVE- INTERVIEW WITH COACH DENNEY
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