Maverick wrestlers not ready to tap out
March 16th, 2011
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Omaha, NE – Addressing his team on Monday, UNO wrestling Head Coach, Mike Denney, calls his team “a family.” And when it gets tough, he said, “we pull even tighter, and this is what I love to see.”
But 13-year old Cade Brownlee isn’t old enough yet to be on that team. However, he has been a wrestler for the past four years and attends Beadle Middle School in West Omaha. He credits most of his technique on the mat to the Mavericks. Brownlee is an avid fan of both UNO wrestling and football and said he and his teammates planned to compete at UNO in their favorite sports.
Brownlee said when he heard the news of the cuts on Sunday, his hopes were dashed. “It hurt, because I knew I wanted to go to UNO and play wrestle and play football,” he said. Now, Brownlee said, he’s not sure where he’ll go. “I think it could’ve taken UNO out of my ideas of colleges and where I want to go,” he said. “I’m just looking at colleges that can supply what sports I want to play.”
It’s young wrestlers like Brownlee who have deeply affected senior and Maverick Wrestler, Mario Morgan. He told those who look up to the team that despite the cut to “keep wrestling.” He said the Mavericks have a duty to those future wrestlers. “No matter what they do to our program here our impact on those kids should and will be positive,” said Morgan, “so we have to keep going and keep pushing for those kids for those future generations that would’ve possibly came to UNO.”
Associate Head Coach, Ron Higdon, said there’s a different problem for current Maverick wrestlers and new recruits who came to UNO on scholarships. Those scholarships will still be honored by the University, but if those athletes choose to leave to go elsewhere, they may have trouble finding new scholarships available this late.
The University administration has said the cuts to the football and wrestling programs are necessary to keep UNO Athletics financially viable. And the University of Nebraska Board of Regents support the proposal, making it a likely done deal. But the UNO Maverick wrestling team and Coach Denney have vowed to keep fighting, and Denney has alluded to a card up his sleeve. The team hopes the same determination that brought home trophies on the mat, will also help save their program. As Coach Denney told the team at practice, “We can go another round, we can go another tough round, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Update: A public hearing on the Mavericks’ proposed move to Division I will be held Friday, March 25. The University of Nebraska Board of Regents announced the special session in a statement released Tuesday. The Regents will hear public testimony on the move, before they vote on whether to approve the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s recommendation.
The Regents will meet at 8am at Varner Hall in Lincoln. The meeting is open to the public and will be audio-streamed live at www.nebraska.edu.
Stay tuned to KVNO News for continued coverage of this developing story.