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Jack finishes sixth at NCAA tournament

Danbury’s Kevin Jack of North Carolina State earned All-American honors for the third time at the 2018 NCAA Division I national championships. (Photo courtesy North Carolina State wrestling)

CLEVELAND, Mach 17 – North Carolina State’s Kevin Jack (Danbury) finished sixth at 141 pounds at the NCAA Division I national championships on Saturday.

After a second round loss in OT on Thursday night, Jack (23-6) won four straight matches on Friday to get back into bronze medal contention.

But Jack lost to No. 4 seed Joey McKenna of Ohio State, 4-3 in the consolation semifinals and dropped a 9-7 loss in overtime to No. 8 seed Nick Lee of Penn State to finish sixth.

“This is not the way I wished to end my career but I never let a low point (determine) my character,” Jack said. “I’ve learned and grown more than I ever could have imagined the last four years here at N.C. State. I gave my heart out to this program and I will be forever thankful that I was given this amazing opportunity. I’m so proud of this team and the group of guys that I’ve spent the last four years with.”

Jack trailed Lee 6-3 in the third period but finished with a flourish to force overtime. A two-point reversal cut Lee’s lead to one, 6-5. Jack let him go, giving him a point, and a 7-5 lead with 40 seconds left.

Jack secured a takedown with 11 seconds left in the third period to force overtime. Lee was quick and got a hand on Jack’s ankle trying for a takedown. Both wrestlers rolled around the mat looking for the advantage. With 22 seconds left in OT, Lee slipped out and behind Jack to secure the takedown and the victory.

McKenna, who eventually finished third, led 3-2 after one period over Jack thanks to a takedown and an escape. Another escape in the second period put McKenna ahead, 4-2.

In the third period, Jack escaped with 1:43 remaining but couldn’t get a takedown for the win.

Jack finished his collegiate career with a record of 115-22, the second most victories in North Carolina State history and as a three-time All-American and two-time ACC champion. He is just the fifth wrestler in team history to earn All-American honors three times.

Jack is the first wrestler from Connecticut to earn All-American honors three times at the NCAA Division I national championships.

“It’s time to start the next part of my life and I can’t wait to help our younger guys accomplish their dreams like I was able to,” he said.

2018 NCAA tournament results
First round: (5) Kevin Jack, North Carolina State dec. Russell Rohlfing, California State-Bakersfield, 10-0
Second round: (12) Tyler Smith, Bucknell dec. Kevin Jack, 6-4, OT
Consolation 2nd round: Kevin Jack def. Henry Pohlmeyer, South Dakota State, 8-0
Consolation 3rd round: Kevin Jack def. Nick Zanetta, Pittsburgh, 4-0
Consolation 4th round: Kevin Jack def. (7) Brock Zacheri, Clarion, 17-2, tech fall, 7:00
Consolation 5th round: Kevin Jack def. Chad Red, Nebraska, 2-1, 2 OT
Consolation semifinals: (4) Joey McKenna, Ohio State def. Kevin Jack, 4-3
Fifth place bout: (8) Nick Lee, Penn State def. Kevin Jack, 9-7, OT

Recent Connecticut All-Americans
Division I
Kevin Jack (Danbury), North Carolina State, 6th, 141, 2018
Kevin Jack (Danbury), North Carolina State, 3rd, 141, 2017
Kevin Jack (Danbury), North Carolina State, 5th, 141, 2015
Orville Palmer (Middletown), Oklahoma, 7th, 197, 2000
Jim Guzzio (Hand-Madison), Maryland, 5th, 134, 197
John Engel (Stamford), Lehigh, 1st, 118, 1931

2018 NCAA Division I tournament

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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