Two Peacocks wrestling in finals; Upper Iowa vying for trophy

By Matt Levins for The Predicament

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Upper Iowa University wrestling team has had a banner NCAA Division II national tournament.
Now, the Peacocks have a chance to cap it off with a pair of national championship and a team trophy to boot.
Upper Iowa junior Maleek Williams and senior Josh Walker will wrestle for national championships on Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Williams (30-9) will face top-ranked Eli Hale (23-0) of Central Oklahoma for the title at 125 pounds. Williams advanced with a thrilling 8-3 win over former Clarion-Goldfield-Dows state champion Josh Portillo, a freshman from Nebraska-Kearney, in the semifinals on Saturday morning. Williams used a late escape to take the lead, then hit a four-point move when Portillo tried a desperation throw in the closing seconds.
Walker (35-6), a four-time All-American, will face George Farmah (13-6) of Minnesota State-Mankato in the finals at 133. Walker pinned Bryce Shoemaker of Nebraska-Kearney in 4 minutes, 37 seconds to advance.
Two other Peacocks earned All-Americans. Junior Damian Penichet finished fourth at 149, while sophomore Nick Baumler took seventh at 197.
Three other Iowans brought home All-American honors. Portillo battled back to take fifth at 125.
Matt Malcom of Nebraska-Kearney finished fourth at 157.
Zach Johnston of Minnesota State-Mankato finished seventh at 174.
Upper Iowa is two points ahead of McKendree for fourth place and a team trophy.