photo courtesy of UNCP athletics
In 41 seasons in NCAA Division II, the Braves of North Carolina-Pembroke have sent 127 wrestlers to the NCAA Division II National Championships, with 64 of those student-athletes earning All-American status. O.T. Johnson has led the program at his alma mater since 2011, and has mentored all three of UNCP’s National Champions.
“The Braves are on the move, and we are ready to earn the respect of the nation during the year, not just at the national tournament,” Johnson said.
Mike Williams became the first Brave to earn a National Championship in 2012, at 165. Two seasons later, Daniel Ownbey would win the first of his two back-to-back 141 titles. Ownbey was a four-time All-American for the Braves, taking third in 2012 and eighth in 2013. The 2019-20 edition of North Carolina-Pembroke wrestling saw the host Braves take the NCAA Super Region 2 title, behind three champions and another three runner-up performances. A pair of Braves earned NWCA All-American status after the cancelation of the 2020 NCAA Division II National Championships, with Nick Daggett (125) and Nicholas Kee (197) both being named All-Americans by virtue of their seeds heading into the event.
Of the six National Qualifiers, two return for Johnson for the 2020-21 season. Joining Daggett will be 133 Super Region 2 champion Logan Seliga. The Braves have experience returning at 157, 174 and 285 as well, and will add around 20 incoming recruits to their squad. In total, Johnson will look to field a roster of 45-50 for UNCP next season.