ST. LOUIS, March 18 – Already a two-time All-American after winning a consolation round bout on Friday night, North Carolina State’s Kevin Jack (Danbury) finished third at 141 pounds Saturday with a pin over the man who beat him on Friday in the quarterfinals.
Jack (35-2) won two matches to finish third and pinned Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith in 6:20 to secure the win. For the second straight year, Meredith, a former Wolfpack teammate, beat Jack in the quarterfinals. On Friday, Jack lost, 6-5. A year ago, Jack lost in the quarterfinals by one point on riding time.
With his third place finish, No. 2 Jack is the first collegiate wrestler Connecticut to earn All-American honors twice and it’s the best finish by a Connecticut wrestler in the NCAA Division I tournament since Stamford’s John Engel won the 118 pound championship for Lehigh University in 1931.
“I thought it was an outstanding performance by him to come back after being disappointed in the quarterfinal,” North Carolina State head coach Pat Popolizio said. “He showed his character, his heart and his will to come back.
“He was in the same situation a year ago,” Popolizio said referring to a quarterfinal loss to Meredith. Jack lost his next match and fell one win shy of earning All-American honors. “The difference is he has a whole different attitude (this year). This kind of stuff defines who he is.”
Jack came from behind to beat No. 10 seed Meredith, who led 5-2 in the third period thanks to a pair of takedowns. But in the third period, the two were scrambling and Jack leaned back and pinned Meredith to the mat for a victory with less than 45 seconds left in the bout (6:20).
“Losing in the quarterfinals isn’t the easy thing to do coming back,” Jack said. “But I had to keep pushing through one match at a time.”
Jack won his consolation semifinal with a 3-1 win over Rutgers’ Anthony Ashneault. Jack took the lead with a takedown with eight seconds left in the first period and escaped in the second period to built a three-point advantage. It was Jack’s third win of the season over Ashneault.
Jack finishes his season 35-2 overall. His 92 career wins already places him seventh in school history. He became the ninth wrestler in school history to earn All-American honors twice in wrestling.
2017 NCAA Division I national championships
At St. Louis
NCAA Division I
Kevin Jack (Danbury),
North Carolina State, 141, 3rd, 2017
North Carolina State, 141, 5th, 2015
Orville Palmer (Middletown), Oklahoma, 197, 7th, 2000
Jim Guzzio (Madison), Maryland, 134, 5th, 1997
John Engel (Stamford), Lehigh, 118, 1st, 1931
Kevin Jack (141), N.C. State
1R: Beat Ronald Perry, Lock Haven, 10-0
2R: Beat (15) Tyler Smith, Bucknell, 4-0
QF: Lost to (10) Bryce Meredith, Wyoming, 6-5
Consolation 4R: Beat Jimmy Guilbon, Penn State, 6-4
Consolation SF: Beat Anthony Ashneault, Rutgers, 3-1
Consolation final: Pinned Bryce Meredith, Wyoming, 6:20