CLEVELAND, OHIO – New city, same championship. Four Duhawks traveled to Cleveland Ohio for their shot at a National Title.
Kevin Kelly was up first, winning his piggyback match, but then getting taken down in Prelims by Joseph Gee-own of Elizabethtown, with a decision 6-2. Not quite out of it yet, Kelly has one more shot to advance, but can’t find an opening and finished his time at Naitonals.
Next up, both Quinn Gilliam and Jimmy Davis, returning All-American National Qualifiers were not quite up to speed, due to injuries shortly before the Tournament.
“With the injury at Regionals with Jimmy, and then the night before the National Tournament with Quinn, it was kind of a nightmare,” says Head Coach TJ Miller.
While neither of these guys were up to speed, they weren’t going down without a fight. Davis followed Kelly’s pattern, advancing from piggybacks but falling in prelims. Fast forward to wrestle backs, Davis would not back down, even with a medical break where it looked like he wasn’t going to continue, but surprised everyone and finished his match. Not taking the win, but definitely securing a place in the fans hearts.
Gilliam fell into the same hole as Davis and Kelly, taking the L in prelims. He tried to bring his all for wrestle backs but couldn’t quite find his nitch, and fell to Tyler Ortmann of Cornell, 3-1, completing his journey at the Championships.
Coming in at 197 pounds, Guy Patron Jr. advancing through to the quarterfinals and beating out Wesley Schultz of Wisconsin Lacrosse to secure a spot as All-American. The lone Duhawk made his way to the Finals beating Tristan Engle of Brockport 3-2.
The Finals match was shaping up to be a tough one as Patron Jr. was scheduled to wrestle Kyle Fank of Wartburg, who he had lost to twice before. Fank, got off to a great start and got a take down and continued to dominate Patron Jr. barely giving him a chance to breathe until the last period, avoiding every grab Guy made for him. Patron Jr. takes the L, 8 to 2.
Coach Miller said, “He got second in the nation, he’s a finalist…he’s been third and second. He’s been top 3 every time he gets here and he’s got 2 more shots. And I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. It shows you what kind of talent he is and how hard he works.”
Sami Graff is the Executive Producer for LCTV SportsZone. She is a Senior at Loras College majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Public Relations. She is involved with Daughters of Christ the King and Women's Golf along with Loras College Television.