By Tim Glon
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Top-seeded senior Kyle Kwiat became Ohio Northern's first-ever 4-time All-American, while senior Jeremy Jones and sophomore Cody Lovejoy were both eliminated with two losses on the first day of the NCAA III Wrestling Chapionships Friday at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Kwiat (43-3), the defending national champion and three-time All-American at 174 pounds, advanced to the Semifinals with a convincing 18-0 tech fall victory over Zach Zotollo of New Jersey in the Quarterfinals Friday night.
He had a first-round bye and won by a 9-3 decision over Ryan Pieper of Trine (Ind.) in the Second Round Friday afternoon.
He will now face fourth-seeded Kevin O'Brien of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in the Semifinals Saturday morning.
"Being the first four-time All-American is cool, but that is not the goal this weekend," Kwiat said. "The goal is to be the first two-time national champion and I am halfway there. That's the focus. I'll be happy about the other accomplishments after the tournament is over."
The victories on Friday also broke his own single-season wins record with 43 this year.
The top eight finishers in each weight class earn All-America honors and as a semifinalist, Kwiat can finish no worse than sixth.
Lovejoy (32-13) also received a First Round bye and fell 7-1 to No. 2-ranked Joe Zitone of Centenary (N.J.) in the Second Round of the heavyweight division Friday afternoon.
He then dropped a hard-fought 8-4 decision to Jeremy Rieth of Elizabethtown (Pa.) in the Consolation Second Round on Friday night.
Jones (28-20) fell by tech fall to No. 2-seeded Jason Fitzenrider of North Central (Ill.) in the First Round and was eliminated by Christopher Sokol of Dubuque (Iowa) 2-1 in double overtime in a Consolation First Round match Friday afternoon.
"Jeremy and Cody both wrestled well and I am very proud of what they accomplished this season," ONU head coach Ron Beaschler said. "For Jeremy to get back here for the second straight year was quite an accomplishment. Cody needs to clean some things up with his technique and build off of this experience. He's got two more seasons to get back here and win some matches."
Kwiat won the 2012 National title, finished fifth in 2011 and finished fourth in 2010.
He is a three-time OAC Champion, a four-time First Team All-OAC honoree and qualified for the Championships by winning the NCAA III Mideast Regional title at ONU on March 2.
Jones is making his second appearance at the NCAA Championships. He qualified this season by finishing third at the NCAA III Mideast Regionals at ONU and in 2011-12 by winning the Ohio Athletic Conference crown.
Lovejoy is a First Team All-OAC honoree and is making his first NCAA Championships appearance. He qualified for the NCAAs by finishing third at the NCAA Mideast Regionals.
The eight remaining All-Americans will compete in the championships semifinals, the consolation semifinals and the third, fifth and seventh place matches on Saturday morning beginning at 10 am (CDT).
The finals are slated for Saturday evening at 7 pm (CDT).
Live stats and live video for all matches are available at the NCAA III Championships site by clicking the above link.
Follow @ONUSports on Twitter for updates for the time and mat numbers of ONU's matches.