This past weekend two former Kearney High Bearcats, Nick James & Lee Herrington,
became college All-Americans by placing top 8 at the NCAA DII National Championships. Their performances helped the University of Nebraska-Kearney wrestling team finish as National Runner-ups.
Nick James (Class of 2019) finished in 7th place at 141 pounds. Coming off of a Reginal Championship Nick entered the tournament as the 7 seed with a 13-1 record. Nick had a first-round bye, then fell to the #2 seed in the quarterfinals. In the blood round, Nick defeats Luke Wymer from Ashland (OH) by a score of
6-4 claiming a takedown late in the 3rd period to get the win. In the consolation quarterfinals, Nick fell to Christian Small from King College, placing him in the 7th/8th place match. In his final match, he came back from an early deficit by picking up 3 takedowns in the 3rd period, defeating Branson Proudlock of Findlay 9-8. Nick is just a Redshirt Freshmen and with this year being a "free year" due to COVID, he will still have 4 years of eligibility remaining.
Lee Herrington (Class of 2018) finished in 4th place at 285 pounds.
Similar to Nick, Lee was coming off on a Regional Championship and entering the tournament as the 6 seed with a 9-5 record. He also received an opening-round bye. In the quarterfinals, he fell to Steven Hajas of Augustana in overtime. In the blood round, Lee earned the first period fall over Cade Ridley of King University. In the following round, Lee picked up a huge pin for the Lopers defeating the 2nd seed Jared Rennick of Drury. In the consolation semifinals, Lee defeated the five seed, AJ Cooper of Ft. Hay State, by a score of 7-5. In his 3rd/4th place match, he again fell to Steven Hajas, finishing in 4th place. Lee is a Redshirt Sophomore and will also receive a free year, giving him 3 seasons left to compete.
Nick and Lee become the first Kearney High alums to become college All-Americans since Adam Keiswetter (3rd place - UNK) in 2005.