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UNI’s Lujan to miss out on final NCAA chance

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Taylor Lujan

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- UNI's Taylor Lujan had things rolling. The Panther senior looked poised to enter the NCAA tournament as the number one seed at 184 pounds with his focus set on winning a National Title.

"I was trying to get my mind right," he said of his preparation, "stay sharp knowing I was in a position to win it.

Then one week before the national tournament it was all over. The NCAA canceled the tournament over coronavirus health concerns, while Lujan, along with 3 other Panther seniors, lost his final chance.

"It's a punch in the gut. You don't know how to feel. It's such a quick shift," he said about that devastating moment, "You've been training all year. Then it's like, 'It's over. What do I do now?' It was a weird feeling of almost feeling lost."

It's expecially frustrating for Lujan who won 19 straight matches going in to the postseason. The three-time conference champ and four-time NCAA qualifier was looking at his best chance to finish on top.

However, it won't end the way the Georgia native hoped, but he says he's thankful for the past 4 years.

"Doug gave me an opportunity, a chance to compete for him, and it means everything," said Lujan, "I'm so grateful to be able to compete along side Bryce Steiert, Max Thomsen, Jay Schwarm, and Paden Moore. I'm so unbelievably grateful. They're great guys."

Mark Woodley

Sports Anchor

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