NEW YORK, N.Y. – From the brink of elimination to the All-American podium, unseeded Casey Kent pinned his way to becoming the University of Pennsylvania’s 28th NCAA All-American in wrestling with a gritty performance on Day Two of the 2016 NCAA Championships at Madison Square Garden.
Kent racked up bonus points in all four of his matches on Day Two – including pins in three consecutive bouts which tie him for the most falls in a NCAA Tournament by a Quaker (Matt Herrington, 2006). His three falls are also tied with Penn State’s Zain Retherford and Navy’s Matthew Miller for the most by any wrestler in the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Kent made a bit of history on Friday night, becoming the first of Penn’s 28 NCAA All-Americans to earn his medal with a win by fall. He joins Scott Giffin (2010) as the only two unseeded All-Americans in Penn Wrestling history.
As starts to a match go, Kent might have wished he had dialed up a better one than he had in his Consolation Third Round match with Nebraska’s No. 16 Micah Barnes. Kent conceded a big move in the first period, spotting Barnes an 8-1 lead after one period – a deficit which grew to 10-3 at the conclusion of two periods.
Faced with his season coming to an end, Kent went big – throwing Barnes to his back and securing the fall at 5:30 to put himself in position for a spot on the All-American podium.
In the Round of 12, Kent came out firing against Oklahoma’s Matt Reed, scoring a takedown in the first period and building over two minutes of riding time. With a 3-0 lead in the third period, Kent put himself in position for the fall with a whirling win of a scramble and secured his second pin of the tournament at 6:49 to land himself a spot on the podium.
In the Consolation Quarterfinals, Kent picked up right where he left off. With a 1-0 lead in the third period, Kent turned No. 7 seed Cody Walters of Ohio and picked up the fall at 5:23
Kent was picking up bonus points throughout the day for the Quakers. Earlier in the session, he added a second win to his national tournament resume with an 8-0 major decision over South Dakota State’s David Kocer. Kent jumped out quickly, building a 5-0 lead after the first period. A takedown in the final 20 seconds of the third period secured the major decision.
So far, Kent has defeated the No. 7, 8, and 16 seeds – including wins over two former All-Americans in No. 7 Walter and No. 8 Epperly.
Penn’s lone quarterfinalist, No. 11 seed Lorenzo Thomas came up short in his bid to reach the semis, suffering a loss to No. 14 Willie Miklus of Missouri. For the second consecutive year, Thomas scored two takedowns in the first period to take a 4-2 lead over Miklus. For the second consecutive year, Thomas could not hang on to that lead as Miklus found two sets of four-point nearfall to build to a 16-6 win. Miklus changed the match with a strong ride in the second period, scoring four nearfall on a cradle to take a 6-4 lead. In the third period, Thomas was in on a shot, but Miklus got the better of the scramble to get the takedown and four backpoints on the edge of the mat to take a 13-4 lead.
In the Round of 12, Thomas found himself on the wrong end of a scramble to Navy’s No. 9 Matthew Miller, losing by fall in 1:50.
May Bethea connected on the first takedown against Nebraska’s Tyler Berger in a consolation bout at 157 pounds. Berger would build to a 4-3 lead after two periods, but a Bethea escape early tied the match up. Berger would find the winning score late in the third and ride out for a 7-4 decision.
Session V begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday with Consolation Semifinals followed by the Third, Fifth, and Seventh Place Matches. Casey Kent will wrestle Indiana’s No. 12 Nathan Jackson with a berth in the Third Place match on the line. The session will be shown on ESPNU and ESPN3/WatchESPN.
174: Casey Kent
First Round: def. #8 Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech), 3-2
Second Round: lost to #9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State), FALL 6:59
Consolation Second Round: def David Kocer (South Dakota St.), 8-0
Consolation Third Round: def. #16 Micah Barnes (Nebraska) FALL 5:30
Round of 12: def. Matt Reed (Oklahoma), FALL 6:49
Consolation Quarterfinals: def. #7 Cody Walters (Ohio), FALL 5:23
133: Caleb Richardson
Preliminary Round: lost to Rossi Bruno (Michigan), 2-1 TB
Consolation Preliminary Round: lost to Dom Malone (Northwestern), 14-1
157: May Bethea
First Round: def. #14 Austin Matthews (Edinboro), 8-7
Second Round: lost to #3 Jason Nolf (Penn State), 25-10
Consolation Second Round: lost to Tyler Berger (Nebraska), 7-4
184: #11 Lorenzo Thomas
First Round: def. Bubba Scheffel (West Virginia), 4-2
Second Round: def. #6 Blake Stauffer (Arizona State), 10-1
Quarterfinals: lost to #14 Willie Miklus (Missouri), 16-6
Round of 12: lost to #9 Matthew Miller (Navy), FALL 1:50