Story courtesy of Kent State Sports Information
PHILADELPHIA - Dustin Kilgore (197) will wrestle for a national championship Saturday night on ESPN. The Kent State junior knocked off No. 1 Cam Simaz of Cornell 10-9 Friday night during the NCAA semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center.
"It's an astonishing feeling," Kilgore said. "I want the title more than anything."
Kilgore trailed three different times in a match where both wrestlers never stopped moving for seven minutes. He scored two first period reversals, including one in the final seconds of the frame to tie the match 4-4.
In the second period, Kilgore overcame a 6-5 deficit with an escape and a single leg takedown on the right side. Simaz cut the deficit to 8-7 early the third, before Kilgore caught him off guard with a snap-down and spin behind for the two points. Simaz collected a stalling point and an escape, before the final whistle blew with the same 10-9 final as when the two met in the finals of the Body Bar.
"It was similar to the last time they met," Head Coach Jim Andrassy said. "Dustin just kept pushing and pushing and it was exciting to be a part of. Everything happened so fast, I'll have to watch it again. "
Simaz fell to 34-2 on the year with both of his losses coming at the hands of Kilgore. Now 36-2 on the season, Kilgore made his way into the semifinals with a 10-3 victory over Iowa's Luke Lofthouse, becoming just the second two-time All-American at Kent State. Lofthouse, the No. 5 seed, kept Kilgore scoreless for the first two minutes of the match, breaking his leg free from Kilgore's grasp. However, the shots from Kilgore kept coming. He converted on one takedown in the first, two in the second and one in the third, all on his own shots. In three matches, Kilgore has been flawless on his feet, recording 16 takedowns, while not allowing any.
While it was a monumental evening for Kilgore, two of his teammate came up just shy of earning All-America honors.
Junior Nic Bedelyon's (125) hopes of becoming a two-time All-American will have to wait another year as he came up one win shy of the honor. Taking on No. 4 James Nicholson (Old Dominion) in what turned out to be his final match, Bedelyon could not finish off a third period takedown attempt in a 5-3 loss. Trailing 4-3 from the top position midway through the third, Bedelyon cut Nicholson loose and got in deep on a shot, but Nicholson found safety out of bounds. Bedelyon got in deep on another shot with 10 seconds left, but time ran out before he could get behind Nicholson.
Bedelyon dropped his quarterfinal bout 9-5 to No. 3 seed Brandon Precin of Northwestern. Precin was a awarded a quick two-count in both the first and second periods, totaling four near fall points. Bedelyon finished the season 25-5.
Junior Brendan Barlow came about as close as one can get to becoming an All-American in a 4-3 overtime loss to Arizona State's Levi Cooper. After Barlow broke free with an escape in the first tiebreaker, Cooper dove at Barlow's feet and was credited with a takedown at the end of the mat. Barlow had picked up Cooper's leg on several occasions from the neutral position in regulation, but could not bring him to the mat.
Barlow won two matches earlier in the day, defeating Oklahoma State's Blake Rosholt 5-1. Barlow scooped Rosholt up in the air with a double leg in the final seconds of the first period to grab a 2-0 lead. A Barlow escape early in the third made it 3-1, before a takedown in the final seconds.
In a similar match, Barlow defeated Columbia's Kevin Lester 5-1. In the final 10 seconds of the second period, Barlow got into a scramble from the neutral position and came out on top to take a 2-1 lead. An early escape in the third made it 3-1 and a late spin-around takedown clinched the victory. Barlow will face Arizona State's Levi Cooper Friday night.
After having to face the No. 1 seed on Thursday, freshman Tyler Small (133) drew No. 6 seed Tony Ramos of Iowa Friday morning. Small bowed out of the tournament with a 21-4 setback, ending his first season with 18 victories.
Junior Ross Tice (165) dropped an 8-4 decision to No. 9 Justin Kerber of Cornell. Tice trailed 4-0 in the second, before an escape and a double leg takedown made it 4-3. Trailing 5-4 late in the third, he attempted a throw that came up empty. With two wins on Thursday, Tice finished with 30 victories on the year.
Kilgore is Kent State's first NCAA finalist since 1942. Don Horning was Kent State's first two-time All-American in 1986.
Saturday morning's Session V will begin at 11 a.m. with consolation semifinals. The championship finals begin at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.