Walsh, Wolfe earn All-American status Friday
ST. LOUIS, MO - Rider University Wrestling Head Coach Gary Taylor’s final national tournament will end tomorrow with two All-Americans. The Rider wrestling team ended day two of the NCAA tournament with two wrestlers being sent to the match for 7th place, guaranteeing both All-America status.
The Broncs saw junior 165 Chad Walsh (Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden Catholic) and senior 197 Ryan Wolfe (New Castle, DE/Caravel Academy) make their way into the 7th place matches at their respective weights, guaranteeing each of them a place on the podium.
“It’s very exciting to have All-Americans, since our program is so small and they are so hard to come by,” said Taylor.
The day began on a tough note, with each of the three Broncs wrestlers still alive losing in the quarterfinals. B.J. Clagon (Toms River, NJ/Toms River South) lost to first-seeded and undefeated returning national finalist Jason Nolf of Penn State by fall in 4:07. Walsh lost to returning national finalist Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin by a tight 7-3 decision. Wolfe also drew a tough opponent in two-time national champ and Olympic bronze medalist J’Den Cox of Missouri by 10-1 major decision.
These losses sent each of the Bronc wrestlers into what many call the most important round of the tournament, the blood round. The round pits the bottom eight wrestlers against each other at every weight with the four winners gaining All-American status and the four losers going home empty handed.
Walsh managed to score a 4-2 decision over 15th-seeded Drew Hughes of Michigan State to get his second consecutive spot on the podium. Walsh scored what was ruled a takedown on the mat for what would’ve been a 13-12 win over ninth-seeded Chandler Rogers of Oklahoma State. However, following a lengthy video review, the takedown was nullified and Rogers was awarded the 12-11 decision. The loss sends Walsh to the 7th place match where he will wrestle Brandon Womack of Cornell tomorrow.
“It’s a good sendoff for coach to have two All-Americans,” said Walsh. “I want to finish out the season with a win tomorrow. It’ll be a good feeling.”
Wolfe drew 11th seeded Shawn Scott of Northern Illinois in the blood round, and managed to defeat him 10-7 to claw his way into the top eight. He fell to Aaron Studebaker of Nebraska by 12-4 major decision to put him in the seventh place match against Kevin Beazley of Old Dominion.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I won and made it to the podium this year, and once I did a huge weight came off my shoulders,” said Wolfe.
Clagon ended up falling to 14th seeded Sal Mastriani of Virginia Tech by a very tight 8-7 score to end his season just short of the podium.
Coach Taylor will end his career on a high note with this year being the second time in his career that the Broncs have had multiple All-Americans, and the first since 1997.
“This is great for the program and the future of the program,” said Coach Taylor.
The Broncs will finish off their season in the medal round tomorrow, which can be found on the ESPN family of networks at 11 a.m.
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