By Tim Glon
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Top-seeded senior Kyle Kwiat won his second consecutive national title, posting an 8-0 major decision in the finals at 174 pounds on Day 2 of the NCAA III Wrestling Chapionships Saturday evening at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Kwiat (45-3) used a pair of early takedowns to take control and cruised to an 8-0 win over second-seeded Jules Deliscar of Ithaca (N.Y.)
Kwiat is now ONU's only four-time All-American, its only two-time NCAA Champion and holds the school's single season (45) and career wins (158) records. He ends his four seasons as a Polar Bear with a record of 158-16.
"Mission accomplished," Kwiat said. "It's a great feeling. I felt good the entire match. To win a second national title and to achieve all of my goals this season and something special that I am very proud of."
He got takedowns in each of the first two periods and posted a reversal early in the third period to take a 6-0 lead. He later got a penalty point for an illegal hold by Deliscar and his large riding time advantage made the final 8-0.
"Kyle is now the greatest wrestler in ONU history," Beaschler said. "We've never had anyone win twice, or be a four-time All-American. He had a great career and wrestled extremely well all year. He had great poise this weekend and deserves everything he has accomplished."
He rallied from a 4-1 deficit to defeat fourth-seeded Kevin O'Brien of Wisconsin-LaCrosse 7-4 in the semifinals on Saturday morning.
Trailing 4-1 after the first period, Kwiat garnered an escape midway through the second period to pull within 4-2.
He then got a takedown with 1:02 left in the match and picked up a 3-point near fall with 20 seconds left to take a 7-4 lead and held the move for the remainder of the match.
Kwiat 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 Rround Friday afternoon.
The top eight finishers in each weight class earn All-America honors.
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.
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.
"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.
He also won the NCAA's prestigious Elite 89 Award, given to the student/athlete competing at the national championships in each sport with the highest GPA.