In eight decades of wrestling at Kent State University in Ohio, there have been 20 NCAA All-Americans… and two NCAA finalists. But never a national champ… until now.
Dustin Kilgore became the first NCAA mat champ for the Golden Flashes by pinning Oklahoma State‘s Clayton Foster at 4:56 of the 197-pound finals at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Saturday night.
It was the second fall of the finals. Earlier Saturday evening, Arizona State’s Bubba Jenkins pinned former Penn State teammate David Taylor at 4:16 of the 157-pound finals.
Kilgore, a junior from Berea, Ohio, was 33-2 going into the NCAAs. He was crowned the 2011 MAC (Mid-American Conference) champ, and earned All-American honors at last year’s NCAAs by placing seventh at 184. He was seeded fourth for the 2011 NCAAs.
Foster, a senior who calls Kamiah, Idaho his home, was the No. 2 seed at 197, with a flawless 22-0 record before Philadelphia. He won the 2011 Big 12 title. Like Kilgore, the Cowboy was a 2010 NCAA All-American, placing sixth at 184.
How Kilgore got to the finals: 1st Rd: maj. dec. unseeded Brent Haynes (Missouri), 13-4… 2d Rd: maj. dec. unseeded Jay Hahn (Bucknell), 13-4… Quarterfinals: dec. No. 5 Luke Lofthouse (Iowa), 10-3… Semifinals: dec. No. 1 Cam Simaz (Cornell University), 10-9.
How Foster got to the finals: 1st Rd: maj. dec. unseeded Luke Macchiaroli (Arizona State), 11-1… 2d Rd: maj. dec. unseeded Joseph Kennedy (Lehigh), 10-1… Quarterfinals: dec. No. 7 Zach Thomusseit (Pitt), 8-2… Semifinals: dec. No. 3 Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin), 4-3.
By the second period, Foster had built a 5-1 lead. With 30 seconds left in the period, the two wrestlers got into a scramble. Reaching for Foster’s head, Kilgore appeared to establish control, but only for a second and no takedown was awarded. As the clock ran down, Kilgore twisted his body back toward Foster’s head, slid his arm underneath the Cowboy’s neck and flattened him to the mat with just four seconds remaining in the period.
Coach weighs in: Kent State head mat coach Jim Andrassy said, “We knew their guy was tired. Dustin just turned, popped his hips up and caught the head and the leg and once he got the leg up, their guy couldn’t turn. I fully believe that even if he wouldn’t have gotten the pin he would have dominated the rest of the match. Dustin is proof that if you work real hard, great things can happen.”
Making things right for Porowski: The KSU wrestling program, founded in 1927, had one NCAA finalist until the 2011 NCAAs: Walter Porowski, a powerfully-built, hairy-chested, multi-sport athlete who lost in the heavyweight finals at the 1942 NCAAs to Loyd Arms of… yes, Oklahoma State. So Kilgore got a bit of revenge for Porowski… albeit nearly 70 years later.
Quotes from the champ:
- Never giving up: “I kept taking shots. Even though they weren’t great shots, I was wearing him out. And that’s where it opened up.”
- Conditioning wins: “I knew without a doubt he was pushing the pace hard. As soon as I saw him get tired I knew right then I had to push myself twice as hard, harder than ever before, because I wanted it and I got it. And, you know, I’m just thankful that my body was able to have the conditioning it does, because without a doubt that’s what got the job done.”
- How the pin came about: “In practice I get in that postion a lot and I was able to throw him on his back. It’s the best feeling ever.”
- Why he chose Kent State: “Right off the bat the first coaches that ever talked to me while I was in high school was Jim Andrassy and Josh Moore. I knew right from the start they were dedicated. They wanted me more than anything. And I could see it in them they would work hard. They put everything towards me to getting a National title. And Kent State’s never had a National champion. So I knew it would mean more to them than anywhere else.”
One past KSU All-American is a name you know: One of the 20 matmen who earned NCAA All-American honors for the Golden Flashes was Doug Dake… father of two-time Cornell champ Kyle Dake. Doug placed fifth at 177 pounds at the 1985 NCAAs.
2011 NCAA All-Americans — 197 pounds:
1st: Dustin Kilgore (Kent State)
2d: Clayton Foster (Oklahoma State)
3d: Cam Simaz (Cornell)
4th: Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin)
5th: Luke Lofthouse (Iowa)
6th: Zach Giesen (Stanford)
7th: Sonny Yohn (Minnesota)
8th: Matt Powless (Indiana), 5-2
For a recap of the finals, check out InterMat…. and TheMat.com. For complete, updated team standings, click here. Updated brackets, click here.
Want to know more? For the official 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling website, click here. For TheMat.com‘s D1 page, click here. For InterMat‘s D1 page — including live blog, daily recaps and links to photos — click here.
March Matness isn’t over yet! In the coming days, College Wrestling Examiner will be providing a weight-by-weight analysis of each title bout, along with wrestler quotes, and a list of All-Americans at each weight. Want to go back in time? Check out the “Mat Bracketology” previews to learn more about the competitors. You’ll want to click the “subscribe” button at the top of the page to make sure you don’t miss a single article.It’s absolutely FREE!
College Wrestling 101: Links to College Wrestling Examiner articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
Follow College Wrestling Examiner Mark Palmer on Twitter