photo courtesy of Maryville athletics
The Maryville wrestling program was established in 2011, as a rebirth of the former Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, led by the legendary Micheal Denney. Following seven national titles, the UNO program was discontinued, with Denney making the move to the St. Louis area to start a program at Maryville. In nine years, the Saints have sent 45 to the NCAA Division II National Championships, with 26 earning All-American honors, two as National Champions. Maryville has also placed twice as a team, taking third in both 2014 and 2015.
“We help teach and build within our program,” Denney said. “We work together and inspire through a shared vision. We are trying to master the art of encouragement, and we always want to be a positive force on our campus and in our athletic department, in our community and within Division II.”
The first Maryville National Champion was Matt Baker in 2012, with the UNO transfer topping the podium at 197 in the first year of the Saints’ program. Nate Rodriguez took the 141 title in 2017, and current Maryville assistant and program career and season wins leader, Keenan Hagerty, was also a finalist at 149 in 2012 in one of his four trips to the NCAA meet for the Saints, joining Nick Burghardt and Zeb Wahle in rounding out the program’s NCAA finalists.
In 2019-20, the Saints sent one to the 2020 NCAA Division II National Championships in redshirt senior Tyler Harrington, who earned NWCA All-American honors in his final season as a Saint. Next season, four 2019 National Qualifiers return to the Maryville lineup, highlighted by 2019 All-American Tyler Kreith at 125. Joining Kreith will be Taylor Jokerst (133), Bailey Kelly (184) and Logan Radik (285), as nine total starters will return for the Saints.
Five will come off of redshirt for Maryville, with another handful of Saints coming to campus as freshmen for Denney from around the state of Missouri. In total, the Maryville roster will look to number just more than 30 for the 2020-21 season.