Dustin Kilgore Saves a Season
The 2011 NCAA Tournament had taken a wrong turn for the state of Ohio.
At the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Tournament, the proud state of Ohio was to have just four All-Americans, though ten Ohio wrestlers (eleven if you include non-Ohioans wrestling at in-state schools) had earned seeds at the tournament. 2011 was already considered a down year for the state, but four All-Americans is a disheartening sum.
Two Kent State wrestlers battled through the consolation brackets to the Round of 12, but each lost his match and fell short of All-American status. Nic Bedelyon, a returning All-American and the 5th seed at 125, found himself the recipient of a tough draw and would face both the 3rd seed (Brandon Precin, Northwestern) and the 4th seed (James Nicholson, Old Dominion) before he could secure All-American status. Bedelyon nearly finished the winning takedown in his Round of 12 match with Nicholson, but fell short. Brendan Barlow was bested in the 30-second overtime rideout of his go-to match with unseeded Levi Cooper.
Ohio's highest seeded wrestler, undefeated Chris Honeycutt, was knocked off by eventual champion Quentin Wright in the quarterfinals, and was majored in the consolation bracket by an opponent he had previously picked apart for a 7-2 win.
The other undefeated Ohio native, freshman David Taylor, had ridden his season of utter dominance to the brink of glory, but was pinned in a shocking finals match with former teammate Bubba Jenkins. The crowd was eerily silent in anticipation, just waiting to see what fantastic ending might consume that historic night. The last thing fans envisioned was the phenomenal freshman being pinned, but that is what came to pass. Jenkins tightly locked up a cradle off Taylor's second period shot, and David's shoulders were pressed.
There Ohio stood, glad for the three All-Americans who had finished their tournaments, but generally underwhelmed by 2011 season and its capstone tournament. Only one wrestler remained.
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